Sunday, January 30, 2011

Slight detour...

Okay peeps. I promise I'll get back to my more traditional posts of crafting and DIY'ing, but today I'm off on a slight detour.

I love blogging. I would love to be privileged enough to quit my day job and blog full time. That being said, most days I honestly love my real job. I impact lives and that means a lot to me. I would just love to have all of the benefits of my "real job" without the stresses of my real job. I'm guessing that most everyone out there feels the same way. The problem comes where the real jobs wears me out so much that I either don't have time to blog or don't have time to do something to blog about. Hence, the few and far between posts. Sorry folks. I'm working on it and hope to have several short posts coming soon.

After all that, if anyone knows anyone who would love to pay me to create/DIY, have them email me!!!! Now, I have that off my chest, onto another detour.

In dealing with my fixer-upper, I have reached the awkward stage. You know, that stage where you're cleaning and you get down to the last basket full of stuff and you don't know what to do with it?? You need all of the things, but none of them have a place where they live. You end up putting all of the things back in the basket and store the basket because if nothing else at least you know where all of those things are...

My bedroom is completely finished, save flooring, which is true of the whole house.

Master Bath is done save caulking baseboards & installing crap moulding...

Hallway is finished save painting and installing trim on one frame, caulking baseboards & installing crap moulding...

Guestroom is close, except for caulking baseboards & installing crap moulding, replacement windows, & closing up the pink bath wall.

Office is close as well, except caulking baseboards & crap moulding.

The living room needs a paint job on the sideboard, frames next to the mirror, a side table at large chair, caulking baseboards & crap moulding and some minor decor tweaks.

The kitchen, now that's another story. It's a domino story that thankfully is about to start falling. If you recall, my bro & SIL bought their first house and moved around the beginning of October. Most everything that didn't fit in their house ended up as a garage sale item in my shed. How does this effect me and my kitchen??? In order to drywall my kitchen, we have to install all of the electrical first. In order to reach the walls to install the electrical, we have to get to them. (I know, silly detail, right??) The walls were until recently blocked by tools and supplies. Unfortunately they take up so much space that I can't just move them around the room while we work behind them. To be really efficient, all of the supplies should be moved to another spot, close and secure, like a shed. Hmmmm. (Are you seeing the issues with the shed? Now, please understand, that I offered my shed up for their storage. They were not imposing on me at all, it's just that the time finally came for it to be emptied.)

Thanks to a highly successful garage sale, my shed is now empty and ready to hold all of my various and sundry items, after we beef up the security out there a little more. Once the tools are secured, we can begin work on the pantry, (wait until you hear this doosie. the thought of it literally brought tears to my eyes...) and keep plugging away on the electrical. Until then, I'll have some smaller posts to keep you busy. Some will be new things and some will be things I've already done, but haven't shared yet. Until then, see ya!!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thanks to this "fabulous" economy, the mortgage rates are as close as through the floor as possible. Realizing this, I wanted to just do a simple refinance on my house to get a better rate. After spending a saturday talking to a local banker, I found myself on a roller coaster ride. Apparently banks frown on refinancing homes with no kitchen to speak of. What?? I've lived for 2 years with a microwave and a adorable hot plate. That's not a kitchen? So, that meant in order to refinance, I had to get a kitchen and get it with in a six month period. And the ride began!

Our first goal was to get the drywall up to hide all of the awesome electrical work. Yeah, I know, I can't wait to get something done that won't be hidden by or behind anything else. I was going to have the job done by someone else, since drywall is pretty important, at least the finished look. After getting bids ranging from $660-$1,000 for 3 blessed walls in my kitchen, I decided we could do it much cheaper than that. So, one Friday afternoon, I came home from work and we cranked, cutting, screwing, taping and floating. We had a 3 man team, switching off the jobs so that while two were installing, one of us was taping and floating behind them. By 11 thtq night, the entire kitchen was done and waiting for more coats of mud. While it was my first job and not the best looking, it is done and all the hiccups, ie corners, will be hidden by cabinets and backsplash tiles.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lil' Ole Me????

After a VERY, VERY long week at work, I sat down after hours to check my email. (Not to worry, I wasn't cruising the internet during work hours. At least not this time. Trying to be honest here, peeps...) I've digressed, again. I sat down and clicked on an RSS feed from Miss Mustard Seed. Now, if you don't know her, she is a HUGE blogger that specializes in just about everything having to do with home decor and furniture. She's written for little companies such as HGTV detailing her "how-to's." I'm telling you all of this so that you realize how much she knows her stuff.

Every Friday Miss Mustard Seed features her 3 favorite furniture redos and then allows people to link their furniture transformations, which I did. I linked up Elphaba just for kicks to see about upping my blog followers/readers... (Does this count as vanity? I'm not looking for that, just numbers higher than single digits!!) ;)

Imagine my surprise when I opened my email this Friday and found this... (click the link to see what I saw. Making you work today, but you can do it!)

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Finale to the 5 colors...

Warning: Wordy post! I have a lot to say. I've been in the house listening to the rain all day, getting things done, but no one to talk to, so you're getting it all!

Last week I posted this picture.

The premise seems simple enough right? Pick out a shade a green and paint my kitchen walls, at least the walls that aren't just studs... Ha! Once upon a time, I painted my bedroom a light shade of green. Eek!! It came out more Kermit than relaxing escape. I am bent and determined not to make that mistake again. Hence my demands. (in case you forgot from last time... I knew that I wanted a soft sage green that wasn't too babyish, wasn't too bright, wasn't too dark, too yellow, too blue or any of a million other criteria.)

After looking at the colors and making a snap decision, I had my choice. (Don't know how I pick colors so fast, but I always have. Somehow I just "know." Granted, that doesn't always work out so well for me (recall Kermit?) but it's how I roll. I liked all of the colors I picked, but killed Simply Sage immediately. My kitchen is DARK and I know it will be light and bright when I get the new lighting scheme in, but until then I didn't want the darkness of that color.

Ocean Foam had a fabulous color, but echoed too much of the Kermit color of my old bedroom. Silver Sage is one of the most popular furniture colors in blogdom. While I love it, it didn't have enough of a difference between the color and the cabinet color. By process of elimination, I was left with Vale Mist. I'm not sure how much eliminating I did, since that was my first choice anyway, but I at least validated it. :)

Off I went to Home Depot and ordered a gallon of the Vale Mist. If you recall, Vale Mist is originally a Benjamin Moore color, not Behr (Home Depot's paint brand) When I took my tiny (1"x2") chip back, the lady at HD asked me for the lid to the paint sample had purchased the night before. Oops. Finished the paint pot and threw the container away. I had the chip, what was the problem??? The issue? We had put some of the paint on the chip from the sample to prove the chip matched. That paint reflected the light wrong differently and would mess up the sample. What's a girl to do? Thankfully, I'm well known at Home Depot and Susan, yup, on a first name basis here, pulled up the queue from the night before and found my 4 color samples. By reading the combination of dyes, we were able to figure out which one was the un-named Vale Mist. After mixing up my color, Susan spot matched the new gallon of Vale Mist with my color chip. It looked great and off I went.

When I got home, I quickly put the paint up on the wall. The more I put up the paint color, the more upset and unhappy with the color. What the heck? When I put the color up on the wall next to my four sample colors, I discovered that it didn't match the original color. While it looked okay from a distance, it wasn't the same color. Granted, it wasn't a huge difference. Instead it was one that made you wonder if you're eyes were out of focus. Not huge, but I kept insisting that it was okay. (Basically I was trying to fool myself into liking it. Guess who wasn't fooled?)

After being mad and frustrated, Marc pulled the lid out of the trash to try and find out why I loved the color in the 1'x1' square by HATED it larger. He examined the lids, which show the color formulas. Instead of being multiples of each other, which would make sense since one was a cup and the other a gallon, we saw different dye notations. Grrrr.

After being talked back down to a rational plane, thanks Dad, I went back to Home Depot to talk with Susan. When I explained that we couldn't even make the formulas match, she realized that I wasn't more crazy than normal and something was up. With a close look, we figured out that the paint computer had tried to take the faster way out. Instead of using a combination of black and yellow, which also makes green, the computer put a shot of the blue colorant in. This changed the entire look completely and was making me batty.

After leaving with the correct color of green, I went back and completely repainted the entire surface that I had just painted a couple of hours ago. Now, I am MUCH, MUCH happier with the color. You would not believe the change in the wall and the overall look of the room with the simple difference of black and yellow versus blue.

I know it's hard to tell on a computer screen, but there is a difference in the colors going diagonally up middle of the picture.

It is so bright and happy now. I love being in it, as long as I'm facing the right way, but that's another post.

Quite a change, huh?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

a fitting wreath...

My front door Christmas wreath was gorgeous, but I don't want to be known as one of "those" neighbors, so down it came on January 1. That left me with a blank white door, not exactly my style. I know that ornament ball wreaths have been all over the internet for some time now, but for those of us just joining the party, it's new to me! So, after gathering tons of silver, gray and white ornament balls, most covered in glitter, I went to town with the glue gun. By the way, no one mentioned how many sticks of glue you use on the projects! Granted, I may have been making it wrong, but I was thinking it was kinda self explanatory. I will stick in a personal note here, use the shatter resistant balls and yes, I speak from experience. After an evening of shows, whichever you prefer, and a bajillion glue sticks, you'll have something similar to what is shown below. I added a silver mesh ribbon to hold it up on the door and called it a day.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The other side...

In my last post, I shared the view of my new doorway from the living room to the dining room. For anyone playing along (nope, no prize, sorry.) you should know that there is another side to the story, ahem, wall. If you don't remember, the original dining room, viewed from the living room was covered in fabulous knotty pine paneling. Yum. Oh wait, not so much. Knocking a ginormous hole in the wall helped the dining room, as well as ripping out the paneling. (Wear jeans when doing this, I still have scars on my legs from it!) The real magic occurred last month when Marc & Sara went above and beyond the call of duty and installed drywall over 1/3 of the kitchen walls. (the other 2/3 has to have electrical and gas run first before drywall.) The entire room breathed a sigh of relief when it finally shed the last of the 60's and moved into the ??? oughts? No idea here! Thoughts? Once the drywall was up, the room started whispering that it still wasn't perfectly happy. It just wanted a little color, just a little. Hmmm...
I knew that I wanted a soft sage green that wasn't too babyish, wasn't too bright, wasn't too dark, too yellow, too blue or any of a million other criteria. Easy right? I first turned to blogdom and cruised looking for colors I liked. A popular shade seemed to be Silver Sage by Benjamin Moore. This lead me down to our local Ace Hardware (only place in town that carries BM paint) to pick up several color chips, including Silver Sage. I then headed to Home Depot and picked up several different color chips there. After leaving them around the house for a few days, (during which they toured the entire house via Zach ;) I tossed out several as being wrong. Once I settled on 4 colors, I went back to Home Depot and got two color samples of their colors, and color matched two Benjamin Moore colors. Back at home I put the four colors on the wall with my trim (and eventually cabinet color) in the middle. Thoughts on my colors? (Ignore the glossy sheen. Someone wasn't patient enough to wait until the second coat had dried completely. Whoops..) Quick note: All of the paint in my house is Behr paint carried by Home Depot. The Behr paint received the highest rating in durability and color fastness in tests performed by Consumer Reports. This fits great into my motto of do this once and do it right the first time! (picture cheesy grin on my face) Quicker note: All opinions on this blog are mine and I do not receive any money or compensation from anyone for my wonderous thoughts.

A Clear View

This post has been a long time coming, both in the actual amount of work and in the length of time it's taken me to post about them. Sorry folks, but life has this way of getting in the way. Anyway, I've digressed, I know, big surprise right? Back to the real point of this post, a clear view... When I originally purchased my house, the living room had two pocket doors leading to the hallway and kitchen/dining area. This didn't go with my idea of an open floor plan, so I knocked a small hole in the wall, small being a relative term.

After removing the pocket door and its mechanisms, my contractor framed out the opening to the farthest studs possible, based on the electrical and built-ins. Sorry for the poor pic, but you can get the general size idea.

After months of work and waiting, drywall, face boards, trim and painting with a tiny, tiny brush, we ended up with this:

Please notice the careful paint application near the built-ins. This was so NOT my contribution. I tend to be more the type to cut in the cut in's cut in, if you follow that. My painting skills leave a LOT to be desired. I volunteered my paint clothes to demo the Behr's paint colors for our local Home Depot. It amazes me that some people are able to paint without becoming covered from head to toe. How????

I must say that it makes all the difference in my living room. Having the opening finished gives a sense of closure to the room. Weird since there are still a ton of things that need to be done in there. Maybe it's because if you don't live here, the to-do for the room is no longer obvious. Yay!!

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Flakey Cards ;)

I love using my Cricut to make cards and now that I have a Gypsy, the possibilities seem absolutely endless. In one of my previous posts, I showed how I used my new super Gypsy, (insert super hero theme music here) to cut several trees and flakes. Wondering what I did with them??? Wait no more! I pulled papers from my arsenal, and yes, I could quite possibly fight a battle with the amount of paper I have and glued the down my trees and thank yous (also cut with the Cricut.) While I liked the look, once on top of the white card, it got lost. So, out come my chalk inks. I edged the paper in dark purple and found a shimmery dark brown cardstock and cut a shadow piece for the back. The fabulous damask embossing look was on the original paper I used. This made the overall look stand out, but it was still missing something. Hmm, what's a girl to reach for? Do I hear Rhinestones? Anyone? Anyone?? Of course! Instead of just stopping with the pretty cut-outs, I took it several steps farther and added paper layers, inking and rhinestones. One of the reasons I love cards has to be the fact that I can craft and craft and if I go overboard and don't like the look, I haven't destroyed any pictures or wasted an entire 12x12 page of materials. See, less guilt with cards! I do have to say though, if I don't like my "finished" project, I usually find that I haven't added enough details, ink, bling, texture, to the piece. For the snowflakes I cut, I used similar techniques: edging with silver chalk ink, iRock rhinestones and layering the papers. I did go one step farther and break out my Cuttlebug. (A cuttlebug is a pressure embossing system that sandwiches a piece of paper between two textured pieces. You roll the sandwich through and out comes an embossed piece.)
The piece on the left is the plain paper put through the Cuttlebug. The piece on the right has been hit with a 220 grit sandpaper to show off the inner white core of the cardstock. Love it!! Once the cardstock was prettified (love that southern drawl) I added my other layers and called it perfect! Had to mix it up just a little! So what do you think??

A Wandering

Hola!! I'm back from Christmas break. Break was awesome and so wonderful to spend time sleeping and recovering from the stress of life in general. One of my favorite presents for Christmas was a little gem called a Gypsy. (Santa was super good to me this year, but I'll post more on that later...)

My brothers and sisters-in-law went together, along with my parents to get me a hand held Cricut. A Gypsy is a small computer sized just larger than a Nintendo DS or PSP. It allows me to put my entire collection of Cricut cartridges on one unit and access them all at one time. (A hiccup with a traditional Cricut is that you can only use one cartridge at a time. In order to cut images from multiple carts, you have to power off the machine and switch the carts out and then reload paper and cut again.) With the Gypsy, I can load multiple images from different cartridges, rotate them to fit the paper best and cut several different items on different colors of paper.

My first project was to load two colors of paper on my mat to get a combination of cuts both of snowflakes and Christmas trees. After programming my Gypsy with the cuts I wanted, I used the USB2 cord and connected it to my Cricut. I loaded the paper and pressed cut. It went to town cutting the entire paper. It is quite interesting to see work. Instead of cutting the tree/top of the paper first, it did the bottom snowflake first, opposite of the cartridge loaded into the Cricut.

As you can see here, it cut the two different images on the correct color of paper for my project. This would be almost impossible (for me) to do without the Gypsy.

After removing the excess paper, check out what was left!

Wondering what I made with all of these items? You'll have to wait for another post. ;)

Look who has blog candy!

For anyone not familiar with blog candy, it's freebies offered in contest form by bloggers. Trust me, there is TONS out there, you just have to find a blog that features what you are looking for. Check out this candy: (Just click on the pic to link...)

From Bakerella:

From Daily Ventings & Exclamations:
Trust me, there are tons more sites with candy. Check out Cafexpressions in my sidebar for one, or just google to find more...