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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The Hardest People to Shop For – aka, my family

My immediate family is very small, so leaving home yesterday with the intention of doing all my Christmas shopping in one day was not outside the realm of possibility. I got my Starbucks on and good music in my car and shuttled myself up to one of San Diego’s major malls. (For all you people who like to guilt people for shopping in malls: I already did my small business and Etsy shopping last week and have made 50% of my gifts, so back off)

I’ll let you know ahead of time that I did achieve my goal, but about two thirds of the way through my day I started to get the panic that only comes from shopping for my family. I’ve put off telling you my family’s ugly little secret, but I think I need a little support from all the normal people out there so here goes…….

Two out of the three people in my family suffer from Urticaria….there, I said it. Wikipedia defines it this way:

Urticaria (from the Latin urtica, nettle,[1]) commonly referred to as hives, is a kind of skin rash notable for pale red, raised, itchy bumps. Hives might also cause a burning or stinging sensation. Chronic urticaria (hives lasting longer than six weeks) is rarely due to an allergy. Less common causes of hives include friction, pressure, temperature extremes, exercise, and sunlight.

Okay, so now you’re sitting there saying, “What do you mean they get hives from pressure and friction?” To state it simply, they break out from seams in clothing, uneven fabric, carved details, ridges, bumps, dirt, sand, dust, basically from being alive. My husband has had it all his life and I had high hopes that my daughter wouldn’t develop it, but this year she went from sensitive skin to insane requirements for anything that may touch her. Awesome.

Now back to shopping…..remember, the panic was setting in. I had ideas for what I was shopping for (which I won’t tell you because that would ruin the surprise), but having not been out in public lately, I was unaware that this year’s styles are an urticaria sufferers worst night mare.

I’m not even going to get into the zippers and the studs, which are ridiculous, what mostly caused the panic was the texture of the sweater itself. My daughter would get a rash from just looking at these…….and that’s all they’re selling this year.

About halfway through my trip I started laughing because if any security person was watching the manner in which I shopped, they would think I was blind. I manhandle every single item I consider, for way too long. Even in Sur la Table I was fondling the handles of utensils for over 20 minutes. You have no idea how many items were not purchased because they had ridges, or fibers, or were designed in such a way that it would rub a neck, a finger or wrist which could possibly result in hives.

And here’s the kicker, as much time as I spent trying to find these perfectly smooth items, they will probably end up returning half of what I bought because of a seam or ridge that I missed. Let’s just say that I put a definite dent in the box of wine when I got home, which I drank it out of my special bumpy, carved glass as a sort of F U to the Urticaria Gods. Take that!

But Wait! There’s More!

Beautiful medallionThe above photo is of the completed ceiling medallion that I delivered to my client on Monday. They loved it!

Then on Tuesday they called and although they still “loved it,” they wished there was more of the aluminum leaf. aka: not actually loving it.

This is one of the reasons I quit working with clients. It’s not their fault. I’m just one of those people that loves to check things off a list and be done with it. To get a call for a change when I’ve put everything away and moved on to the next project just makes me crazy. What’s worse is that I can’t say no because I can’t stand for people to be unhappy with my work. So all the materials came back out and I went back to work. Grrrrrrrrrr.

after adding more leafing We agreed on adding more aluminum leaf to the flowers and the centers of the teardrop carvings. I actually think it’s a huge improvement.

painted-ceiling-medallionSo here’s the final, FINAL ceiling medallion. They love it…….at least until tomorrow.

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.

The New Assmaster 2000 is Here!

The Assmaster 2000Today we welcomed a new addition to our family……a brand new Assmaster 2000. This will be our second Assmaster. We’re still happy with our first one that’s in the guest bath, that is, except for it’s tendency to rip the skin off your thighs if you stand too close when you’re flushing it. It’s better than liposuction.

The unplanned bathroom renovation is moving along at a fairly steady pace, regardless of my wishing I was doing something else. The paint is done on the walls and the cabinets. The new floor is down and I’m happy with it……..happy that I’m done with it! The baseboards are painted and I’ll put those in tomorrow. The counter top turned out beautifully and we’ve figured out the backsplash today so that will get done tomorrow…or the next day. I sanded and refinished the light fixture and it looks cool and modern rather than rusted and cheap. So, it’s moving along, but there’s still a lot on the list if we’re going to complete it before my daughter starts back to school……..in 6 days. No pressure!

awesome wood paletteBONUS: The Assmaster was delivered on a wood palette and the delivery guy said I could keep it. Awesome! He actually said, “I’m sure you don’t want the palette so I’ll take that away………….(long pause)…….or maybe you DO want it.” I say, “you mean, I can keep it?” Needless to say, I’m the proud owner of a trashed palette with touches of old blue paint. So exciting! I’m sure the boards will find it’s way into something cool like this:

message centerI use salvaged boards in all my message centers and craft organizers, so you’ll see this palette artfully rearranged soon. Don’t forget…….everything in both my Etsy shops (Salvaged Sanity and Destashio) is on sale through the end of the month. Use the coupon code: XMAS20 to receive a 20% discount on all your purchases. Only a few days left till the prices get put back to normal, so buy your favorites NOW!

Snowballs: Where they come from and how to avoid getting hit

blank canvasWorking as a decorative paint contractor for 14 years gave me the opportunity to observe snowballs and their victims up close and personal many times. Snowball victims almost always survive but they don’t get away completely unscathed. They walk around with that shocked, “How did I get here?,” look on their face. The photo above shows my daughter’s bathroom right before I got hit.

To be fair, I believe it’s my fault we got hit. This project was supposed to only involve a change in the wall color…….and then we went to Lowe’s. I found a flooring product that I liked and could afford at under $50 for the whole room. I thought it was a smart purchase.

The next day my husband’s told me he had made his own smart purchase when he said, “I ordered a new toilet. I figure if you’re going to replace the floor, we might as well upgrade the toilet.” The purchase of a new Assmaster 2000 let me know……..the snowball is now rolling.

removing the backsplashThe next shove came when he walked in on me trying to paint around the mirror. He offered to pull it off to make it easier. That was the critical error. When the mirror came off and he looked at the backsplash he realized it probably wouldn’t take that much work to remove both the tile and the counter. My daughter had requested that whenever we decided to replace the counter, could we raise the counter height to an adult height. This bathroom was created for children and the height is 3 inches lower than a standard counter. We had planned on replacing the counter sometime this year, but yesterday it became sometime this week. The snowball is rolling quickly now.

countertop removalMy husband is amazing and what would have taken me a couple days and a few trips to the chiropractor took him less than a couple hours. So now we have to replace the countertop, the backsplash, and while we’re at it, have the giant mirror cut and put in to two frames to make it prettier. The snowball is flying now.

raising the cabinetFortunately we had the perfect boards to raise the cabinet. This simple effort created an even bigger snowball because I will have to add a piece of wood at the bottom to cover the gap and since this was painted by the builder and I don’t have that color I’ll have to paint the cabinet. I hate painting cabinets. Fu*#king snowball!

wood countertopI decided that the cheapest and quickest way to put in a new counter would be to use a nice piece of wood. I’ll stain it and put on a really good top coat. I’m going to make the backsplash out of wood as well but I’ll add some decorative detail to it.

So what started as a small paint job has snowballed into a complete remodel including new floors, a new toilet, new mirrors, a new countertop and back splash and a freshly painted cabinet. Huge snowball.

How do you avoid snowballs?

Don’t touch the floor!

Intermission: brought to you by The Universe

I apologize for no photos accompanying this post, but I didn’t want any physical reminders of this day, that is, except for this post.

You ever have one of those days when the world tries to stop you from doing something productive over and over again, but you just keep trying to push forward? That’s the kind of day I had today. But before that…..let me fill you in on yesterday.

Yesterday my daughter and I removed the remaining wallpaper in her bathroom. Huge mess, but at least it was off. We spent the rest of the day scrubbing the walls to get all the leftover glue off the walls. Totally sucked. Dianna had no idea what she had gotten herself into, she scrubbed her fingers raw, but let’s just say she’ll probably never apply wallpaper anywhere unless she knows she will love it forever, like a tattoo. It’s so painful to remove it. Honestly…..I’d rather have a tattoo removed off my inner thigh than pull off wallpaper. Wallpaper sucks.

So back to today.

This is how it was supposed to go: paint one coat, take a shower, eat lunch, walk the dog, paint the second coat. Totally achievable.

This is how it actually went: I spent all morning pulling off baseboards, patching holes, and sanding rough spots but I wanted to start painting so badly that I started even though I was famished. So I’m shaky, but painting, on this stupid two-step ladder. (I’m working on a two-step ladder because I can’t find my three-step ladder. I say, “I can’t find,” but what I really think is “someone stole my three-step ladder.” My husband can’t fathom why someone would steal a ladder out of our garage. He swears I’ve misplaced it. How can you misplace a ladder in your home and not be able to find it? It’s not a set of keys, it’s a freakin’ ladder!) This is all beside the point…….the point is, the two-step ladder is one step short and my neck is killing me. Like I can’t open my mouth because me neck is so tight.

We started painting, only to see that glue on drywall is invisible, that is, until you apply paint………then you can really see it. Apparently, even though we scrubbed those walls for four hours, there’s still glue on them. So we tried to wipe it off as we painted. Totally sucked. If that wasn’t enough, we were running out of paint. Since I bought the primer/paint before I knew that I’d be dealing with drywall mud and not a primed surface, I hadn’t bought enough to account for the product soaking in to the mud. Slow going to say the least. I still hadn’t even taken a shower……….nasty!

…..We broke for McDonald’s.

When I checked the paint after lunch it had miraculously become beautiful…….finally a good sign. So I ran to the store to get more since it had all become one with the joint compound. I get to the counter and a sign on the counter says, “We are sorry to inconvenience you, but both our paint machines are broken.” Are you fu*#king kidding me?

So…..I quit. It’s the Universe’s fault.