Wednesday, February 24, 2010

No rest for the weary.

The move is going swimmingly, exceptionally in fact, with the case being that Matt is not here.  My friends are magnificent and my dad actually used his lunch to drive to the house and install a ceiling fan today.  That's devotion and  I am truly blessed.  As always, the projects keep coming and I'm inching closer to finishing each one even though many haven't even started yet.  I finally got my ebay goods this week, one being a fabulous brass chandelier that I scored for $5.  I finally painted it last night and it looks excellent.  The chain was too short however for where I want to hang it so I need to head to Home Depot to get some extra chain and wiring.   Once it's hung from it's permanent home, I'll post the after.

The wood floor has been chosen and we decided on bamboo.  I'm not a huge bamboo fan as I don't like to walk into a room and know it's secrets immediately and I feel that's always the case with bamboo.  It just looks so much like.....bamboo.  However, it is the hardest solid wood floor (and apparently a solid wood floor is hard to come by.....EVERYTHING has plywood backing and a thin veneer.  EVERYTHING).  We are only putting it down in our master bedroom and master closet but the rest of the house is original solid old pine hardwood and the feeling of walking on engineered crap after stepping on the good stuff would bother me.  After consulting with the good folks at Lumber Liquidators and considering our furry pup, we decided that the hardest wood available was probably best for us.  And they even had this carbonized version that is a darker color, keeping a little mystery alive until you peer a little more closely.  It also matches very well with the original wood.  And for 3.99, it's really a steal.

I also have been working on Matt's and my dresser for the past couple weeks.  Or month.  It's been a long time.  When Matt moved into our rental, it came with this little solid wood mid century dresser.  Here it is in all it's taped up, Luke-ified glory.  Yes, that's his dog food next to my jewelry box.  Things need to change.

I'm a sucker for a free piece of solid furniture and while the handles of the original piece were really bad, I found something at HD called "wood filler" where you can actually fill in parts of anything that need to be smooth and aren't.

I used it on a picture frame where the holes had been drilled clear through the frame and it worked wonderfully!  I can't even see where the holes are now that I've painted.  So I disassembled the handles and slopped this thick nasty goo into each handle space.  With it being so thick it took about a week to dry.

And then it turned to marble.  Seriously, unsandable, possibly harder than bamboo, cement was now filling the holes of our dresser.  After it ripped my sander to shreds, I called my father in law who has some carpentry background and he brought over a hammer and chisel and chiseled away at the filler.  Call me Michaelangalo because it worked.  All it took was a light sanding once I'd gotten the filler down to a reasonable height and touch up filling in the holes.  Once I cleaned off all the dusk from sanding I got to painting.  I use "Kilz" primer because it's a classic and while I bought the oil base primer because I've heard it's the best, I'd already put enough sweat into this dresser and oil based anything is hard to apply.  I went out and got the latex kind to use instead.  When I use the other, I'll let you know how it holds up comparatively.    And here it is, our french inspired, whimsical/ modern seven drawer dresser.  I've still got some paint to do around the bottom and I bought dresser legs so it'll pop off the ground but I'm stoked.  I just emailed this to Matt, so I'll be sure to include his response in my next post.  He keeps saying "I need to see it in person" which is probably Mattspeak for "yikes".

So, one of my favorite magazines, Metropolitan Home just folded and like my Domino and Blueprint subscriptions, the owners of the company compensate you with another magazine until your subscription ends.  However, this is one of the last design mags in this company apparently so they send me "Woman's Day".  Great, just want I was wanting, EVERY SINGLE MONTH.  My whole Domino subscription has been like a continual downgrade as magazines are folding left and right.  Next I'll be receiving "Star Weekly" for 6 months.  So anyway, Woman's Day didn't turn out that bad and I was especially stoked to see a special article on their new editor.  She was moving into her new office and changing her decor and look what she has, could it be a startling replica of my chair?  Perhaps she reads my blog.  I'm going to hope she does to add to the list of my mom and Matt. Hopefully we don't share the same flair for fashion.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Closing, move in, and on and on...

So our closing was at 3pm on Thursday, however it was so much fun we continued it to Friday.  Murphy's Law definitely applied.  First, Matt had to sign the closing documents (you can see the obvious problem with that) and then they got the papers to Matt but didn't mark for him to sign so he only signed where his name was (banks do not observe the idea of logic), then the fax showing he signed the last papers didn't fax in time for the closing so and Matt was furious that it could have been right the first time so he had to canceled an interview in his fury.  Everyone was in an overall bad mood so we decided to wait until the documents were fedexed the next morning to pick up the keys.   Upon the documents arriving safely and properly signed by my dear husband, we were okayed to pick up the keys to our new house!  Exciting until the listing agent wasn't in on our glee and wasn't at the office that day to actually give us the keys.  So my mom and I waited in the parking lot for an hour for the realtor to get there and voila, simply homeowners!  The fight was worth it and our house is looking swell.  These are the before pictures.  Not bad but going to be much better.

I don't have the "after" shots yet as it's only been two days, but our friends and family have been miracle workers.  Moving alone without Matt here was a daunting thought but they've been incredible.  We've painted the large room that encompasses the living, dining and kitchen areas, the guest bath, the master closet, the guest room and the master bed room.  Scott and Logan ripped out the berber carpet that was in the master bedroom and I need to pick out some wood to put down.  We've spent about $200 on paint (not used:) and all we really need big to buy is the flooring (I'm working on salvaged but it's hard to find...) We also need a daybed or a full size bed if you know of anyone getting rid of or selling theirs.  I'm going over today to finish the other paint jobs but here are some working shots.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Crown me Queen

...of spray paint that is.  Along with three projects I've completed on this fabulous long weekend (and it's not even over yet!) I'm also going to share two incredibly handy devices that make your like easier.  Well, one will only make your life easier if you have the unending desire to spray paint everything that I do.

First project is one that's been going on in the back yard for some time.  We started with six of this bad boy:

and no, that's not someone's failed attempt at making it to the bathroom on time, that the tannin from the grapefruit tree's leaves that fall year round staining our white rubbermaid chairs inherited from my parents.  While I've seen the coolest patio furniture EVER this week I'm glad we aren't sending these babies into the landfill for a couple more years.  They are pretty much indestructible and not recyclable yet so I can't happily shuttle them off to a place where they'll take up space till my grand children's, grand children's, grand children invent a way to make garbage melt away cleanly and greenly.  So I found this paint (sprayable of course) at the ol' HD that allows one to paint on plastic leaving a smooth and colorful finish.  Very cool but at about 4.99 a bottle, kinda pricey.  However, the chairs were free and I rationalized that 5 bucks a pop for patio chairs was still cheaper than going out and looking for them.  For the six chairs it actually took 7 bottles of the stuff but if I did it again it would probably be less considered I'm a far better sprayer than I was when I started this project.  Here they are in all their $35 dollar glory.

Last post, I left with the absolutely adorable retro chandelier (I was right, Matt said "hideous") that I bought in New Port Richey, FL from "Donna" who was a hoot.  She kept saying, "I can't believe you wanted this."   I almost painted it a glossy red like I'd seen in countless blogs last week, but decided on black on a whim.  The cylinders that contain the wiring were rotted when I bought it so I threw them out thinking I'd just buy some pvc pipe and spray it whatever color the lamp was.  Just to see how it'd look I used a black paint chip I had on hand to cover up the wiring and it looked great so I picked up three more at Home Depot and used double sided tape to make it smooth.   Easy and free.  The lamp was $25 and the black paint I used was $3 bucks.  It took the entire can.  I just bought a brass chandelier on ebay today so after I get done with the mega project I'm working on tomorrow I'll start whipping that into shape.  I love chandeliers!

This was a little "on a whim" craft that took about 5 minutes.  I was getting bored since I've already packed and I'm still waiting for some stuff on ebay to make its way South.  Somewhere in the course of Matt and I getting our house ready, we acquired this little gem.

I'm pretty sure it came from Matt's aunt and he loves it.  I knew he be bummed if I donated it so I found the remnants of a little can of green spray paint and while I think it'd look dynomite in orange, I worked what I had.  Here is the spunky new lamp, and you can definitely tell there's an elephant in the room.  Such a punster.  It kind of reminds me of those Buddha bookends that I love so much but am not Buddhist.  All the punchy color without the religion. 

Onto the incredible new gadgets I found that I'm sure the rest of the world has already embraced and is frequently using but I just discovered.  I'll start with the problems.  We own the most wonderful faux feather (I'm allergic) plush duvet insert that my dad's wonderful secretaries at work got Matt and I for my wedding.  We love it......however we hate duvets.  Like a giant pillow case that never seems to settle just right where you get the insert and not just bunches of duvet fabric, we can't stand messing with it each night.  Enter in....duvet clips.  $5.99 for a pack of 4 and so worth it.  If I'd had a 20% coupon to Bed Bath & Beyond they'd be even cheaper but I'd pay double.  There were two brands and the woman helping me said this one was the best (they were the same price).  You need these.

The second little gaget comes from my willingness to spray paint everything.  In the past month I sprayed six patio chairs and four dining room chairs.  I had two calluses on my index fingers from the nozzle and a right thumb that continues to cramp when I turn a door handle.  After finishing the chairs, I still had the base of the table to spray and couldn't even will myself to buy the paint.  If I had the paint waiting to be used I might feel guiltier about not spraying them but oh the pain.  So finally I dragged myself to Lowes to finish the project I'd started and like a spotlight from heaven I saw this little guy.  Not only does it completely erase spraying discomfort, it allows the painter more control, thus use paint more productively.  It only took two cans of paint for the base and I'm willing to bet it's because I was able to spray more evenly.  Even for one project, this was worth it.  You need this too.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A week of good things.

One week till closing and I am so so so very excited.  I wish Matt were here so badly but alas, the life of a musician's wife is indeed a lonely one.  Good thing I have a furry 4 month old bud to keep up with.  I have lots of new projects to share, found items, and good craigslists stories.  I'll start with the stories.  So that road trip I made to Palm Harbor was fruitfull because I got the greatest circular mirror for our guest bath.  The people I bought it from were a nice enough couple but didn't expect to get this in my e-mail a week later (names withheld to protect the seller):

"Hello Rachel this is * and *,

Just want it to know how everything is going with you,
You know? * and I just moved to Palm Harbor from Boston and she was wondering if you would like to hung out with us someday, you seem like a nice person to be friends with, we enjoy music, cooking, art all types, just chatting etc.


While not what I expected from a craigslist transaction, I was flattered at first then a little creep-ed out.  However, isn't that what part of this whole mission is about?  Building Matt and I's new home with a sense of community?  I feel for this lonely couple fresh from Boston, but we live in an age where I'm frightened from even friendly gestures.  I did get a great mirror from *&*  and so happy to share it with you.  Our new guest bathroom has almond colored tile and I'm going to paint the walls a slightly lighter shade.  The real pop comes from the garish red I painted the mirror to go in the boring almond bathroom.  Before and After....

I found this mirror (still on a mirror obsession) at a thrift store on Hillsborough whose entire proceeds goes to missions in Cuba.  I don't have a before even though I swear I took one but can't find it.  This is going in our bedroom "mirror-ed wall". 

I do have a wonderful craigslist story to balance out the bad however.  I met the sweetest couple today and their too-cute daughter in the pursuit of a quirky West Elm rug.  They live in Sarasota and I was prepared to drive the hour and a half but she called yesterday and said they'd be in Tampa today and could run it by my school to see it.  Um, yes?  I was just telling Matt yesterday that while we believe using already manufactured items as long as possible and not sending old stuff to the landfills is the greenest way to go, is driving all over Florida for used goods defying the very purpose?  So cool that Nina and her sweet family came to the "green" rescue.  I love this rug and it will be perfect in the entrance to the new homestead.  It was so hard to find a 100% wool rug with no plastic or synthetic fibers used and I am so stoked.  I'm pretty sure Matt will like this one.

It must be said that my husband is a very good man.  He is seeing these pieces and my purchases the same way my family and friends are, on my blog.  He lets me buy whatever fancies me mostly because he's away on tour.  And when I say "whatever" I mean that if he doesn't like it when he gets back, we are selling it.  This was the case in the search for a table.  I wanted a glass table and he didn't.  I wanted a particular table and his take on it was, verbatim  "anything but that".  So what would the thoughtful considerate wife do?  Keep looking of course for a table that fit every family member's needs.  I however thought that my sense of style and interior knowledge far surpasses my husband's and I bought the "anything but that".   Taking this as a mission on my part to get Matt to love my transgression,  I immediately tore off the hideous upholstery and covered the seats with a streamlined green diamond check Navajo-ish fabric.  I then sprayed white lacquer on the metal chairs and voila.  Brilliant.  I haven't finished the table yet and my mom is convinced a cave man taught me how to upholster so she's going to help me finish the rest.  But I think they are swell.  They came from Weeki Wachi (sp?) and my wonderful mother helped lasso these babies into my dad's truck.  

I've got still more projects to work on and a nice long weekend to get them done.  I'll leave one last image to truly intrigue you.  Matt is going to hate this.   And then love it of course.

Friday, February 5, 2010

An unexpected road trip

Exciting journey out to Palm Harbor on Wednesday for the cause.  Thought it’d be a 20 minute trip but I misread my GPS and it ended up taking an hour.  My poor puppy had to ride along on our little odyssey and he chewed up my lunch Tupperware in the process.  He was a trooper so he deserved it.  

The REASON for our little trek was for a beautiful mirror.  I’ve been absorbed in the ability of a mirror to completely transform a space from a small and windowless cave  into a light and airy room.  In the new house we have a 9.5 by 9.5 room that is really in need of some light bouncing around.  It’s got a window to the front porch which is going to be the catalyst.  I scoured our house for any  mirror I could use and found one with some potential.  In the meantime I’d been searching for mirrors on craigslist and found one in Palm Harbor, thus the expedition.  Palm Harbor is really far. 

The first mirror is one my mom gave me when I moved into the town house I shared with Logan.  I painted it white (surprise surprise) with a new white lacquer paint that they sell at Lowes (my rust-oleum isn’t carried there…).  I'm planning to use it in our bedroom for a little mirrored wall I've thought up.  The Palm Harbor mirror isn't completed but it's going to be great.  I won't spoil it's greatness yet because it's proving hard to tape off a circular mirror.  Once it's done, you'll see it in all it's mirror-y goodness.  And for the meantime you can drool over how cute my dog is in the car.  He's a good road mate.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tuesday Missions...

With the countdown on (16 days!) and my unreal desire to have every single piece of furniture before move in tapping me on the shoulder at 5 am, I stopped by the thrift store on the way home from work.  We are looking for a guest bed frame and possibly a headboard along with the endless search for rugs.  While I found none of those things, I did score some sweet deals.  My mom bought me an adorable cupcake stand for Christmas and I've been obsessed with them ever since.  I bought some material to make a couple, some pottery (I can't have enough vintage pottery, please stop me), an adorable sunny basketweave purse ($.50!) and was ready to leave when the cashier totaled my purchases.  $3.50 was the grand total of my bag full of stuff and I was beyond ecstatic, until she told me I had to have a $5 total to use my card.  Cashless and bummed, I sadly looked around the shabby interior for anything to buy to fill the void.  I saw a lonely looking chair and added it to my bounty for a whopping.....wait for it.....$2.50.  Yup. 

I immediately took it home for some re-upholstering.  The only fabric I had lying around was from the kitchen curtains I made last year but it was just enough to cover the chair pad, so it was probably meant to be.  Seriously, this took less than 10 minutes and while the fabric won't be on there forever, the chair is so classic, I can change it anytime to refresh. 

My husband is probably reading this thinking "we don't need another chair" and it's true.  While I said I'm obsessed with cupcake plates, it's nothing compared to my desire for "another chair".  They can go anywhere!  Next to the door as a catch all for umbrellas and a nice place to tie your shoes, along a wall just in case you get tired on the way to your bedroom, scattered throughout your living room should the unexpected party of 5 show up, you just never know when you might need another chair.  Here's the before and after along with the totals....and the last picture is of my too cute purse.

Chair: $2.50
Fabric: had it already but for the record it costs $7.99 a yard a Ikea and I used about 1/4 yard.
Staple Gun: Just borrowed from my mom on Sunday
Total:  If you include the fabric, $4.50