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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Why cant it ever be easy?

I just want a threshold piece of wood between the bathroom and the hallway.  Thats all I want.

The piece came off shortly after we moved in.  The prior owners had done a odd piece of mix-and-match to get the wood piece to fit and it had broken off - surprise, surprise!  Now, there is a gaping hole that collects kitty litter and other bits of dust and nastiness between the crappy laminate of the hall way and the crappier tile of the bathroom. 

About two months ago, back when the piece broken off, I thought we had purchased screws long enough to make the repair but evidently we pickup screws that we just long enough to keep the minor project from being completed.  Two months later and nothing had been screwed in.  Nothing was fixed.  No progress had been made on this simple fucking project. 

So, I took it upon myself to get the damned thing done this morning only to find that the screws we had bought for the job were too long and were cheap to boot.  Now I have a stripped screw, a bruised ego, AND and incomplete project.

So I ask you, why cant anything be fucking simple???

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hurt So Good?

Yesterday morning I woke up almost not able to move.  My forearms hurt, my lats hurt, and my back was killing me.  Evidently sanding those damned pieces of furniture was harder work than I had originally assumed and I was paying for it with muscle pain!

On Sunday I sanded the headboard for the guest room.  I didnt sand it enough to remove all the varnish, just enough to give the new paint something to stick to.  Still it created a fair amount of dust and took considerable time.  I then wiped it down with TSP and used an old paint brush to remove all the residual dust.  It got a nice coat of primer after that and is currently sitting in the garage waiting for a day that isnt rainy so it can get a coat of shiny white paint.

I am doctoring myself today with a fresh batch of homemade granola.  Its pretty good if I say so myself!  I made this batch with walnuts and figs but I have made others with apricots, blueberries, and almonds.  I started making granola when I noticed how much the cereal we were buying was.  In addition, my Mom had sent me about 4 metric tons of California walnuts and they were taking up valuable real estate in my freezer.  I happen to think my recipe is pretty good.  Its not too sweet and its not too clumpy - sometimes I have a problem chewing some of the granola with super clusters.

3 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
1/3 cup oil (I use olive oil because thats what I have on hand, but I am looking for coconut oil in the future)
1/3 cup honey
3/4 cup chopped dried fruit
1 1/4 cup nuts

Combine the wet ingredients.  Add the nuts and toss to coat.  Add the oats and stir to combine.  Spread on a cookie sheet and roast at 350 for about 15 minutes.  Stir and roast until everything is a golden color.  Remove from the oven and add the dried fruit.  If you add the dried fruit before roasting it will get tooth-breakingly hard in the oven and make you not want to eat the granola.

Cool the granola on parchment paper and store it in an airtight container to keep it crispy.  Serve with milk or over yogurt.

Monday, March 14, 2011

We Will Have A Guest Soon!

Its time to put the guest room back together since my Mom will be visiting at the beginning of April.  That gives us three weekends to get the room in a livable condition.

With help from J's Father, we got the guest bedroom and hall way primed.  It replaced the poopy walls with something a lot less poopy but unfinished nonetheless.  In addition, the guest room turned into the dumping ground for all our extraneous crap.  Everything we didnt know what to do with ended up sitting on the bed or desk.  It dosnt help that this is the room we used for our painting projects either.  All the hardware and home repair supplies ended up in this room too since we dont have very many places for storage in this house. And, while we covered the comforter up with plastic to keep the majority of construction debris away from the fabric, the dust from sanding both the kitchen cabinets and the walls has permeated the room.  Needless to say, it needs a couple coats of paint and a good cleaning!

Thats the easy part.  I have filled the gaps in the window frame with spackle and sanded those parts down, but the trim still needs a coat or two of glossy white paint.  We have picked a beautiful grey paint by Behr called Porpoise that is rich looking but not too dark and the white trim will really make it pop.  The grey we chose matches the grey in the curtain fabric perfectly. 
I have also started work on the headboard.  I want to paint it glossy white and decoupage the recessed portion with the left over fabric from the curtain.  I am not certain if this will make it too cheesy/crafty or if it will look fabulous...I am hoping for the latter. 

There is the issue of the side table to contend with as well.  The one I bought off of CL doesnt seem like its suitable for the space.  After about an hour of sanding, I just dont really want anything else to do with it for the time being and am on the search for a cheaper and more DIY friendly alternative.  I picked out the prettiest yellow paint at Home Depot yesterday and am just itching to paint something with it.  Its Behr high gloss in Citrus Zest and matches both the yellow in the curtain and the yellow sheets my Mom sent us a while back. 

I cant wait to get the room put together.  In reality, the guest room is the nicest room in the house.  It gets the best light and is set a bit further off the street than the master bedroom so its a bit quieter as well.  It has windows on two sides so it stays bright throughout the day and is large enough for both a sleeping area and a desk space.  The grey and yellow is a color palate that I picked after a trip to New Orleans and I think that it makes the space into a living memory of a great weekend and will make the already great room truly special. 

The remaining to-do list is as follows:
  • Paint the walls - Porpoise Grey
  • Paint the trim - Utlra Pure White
  • Rid the room of dust
  • Paint the headboard
  • Attach headboard to the bed
  • Find a suitable night stand and paint it - High Gloss Citrus Zest
  • Hang picture
  • Wash comforter and put yellow sheets on bed
  • Hang curtain
  • Address the issue of the guest bathroom, but thats a whole other post!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Small Kitchen Improvements

Its been a bit quiet over here and thats mainly due to lack of funds.  We have still be busy with finishing up some more minor details that actually make a huge impact in the kitchen.


First, I spent a Sunday filling in most of the gaps in the kitchen cabinets with spackle, sanded it, and touched it up with paint.  When the cabinets were black, it hid some of the spacing issues that come with an old kitchen and painting everything a lighter grey shade made these little imperfections fairly obvious (at least to J and I).  Filling in the holes was one of those projects that probably never would have been completed if we had money to move on to the next room.  The space looks much more "finished" with that detail taken care of and we couldnt be happier with the results (unless we had a whole new kitchen). 

Second, I finally took the time to paint the inside of our open cabinet.  By painting the back of the cabinet the same color as the wall and the inside walls of the cabinet the same grey, it really brightens up the space.  No longer is there a black hole on the wall where seemingly no light can enter.  The new paint job also shows off our everyday plates, serveware, and glass storage containers very well. 

Third, and lastly, we had a new faucet installed.  The prior faucet was old and busted - literally.  The sprayer nozzle leaked and had to be pulled out and laid in the sink to keep the water from rushing into the cabinet space below.  Every time we turned the water on the entire system would make a terrible "whoomp, whoomp, whoomp" sound from the air escaping into the pipes.  The faster the water, the more quickly it would "whoomp."  It wasnt good.  In addition,the shallow depth of the sink was accentuated by the low arc of the faucet itself.  The configuration actually prevented us from filling pots with water for pasta.  We had to use a fancy tilt method that was precarious and extremely inconvenient in order to fill the taller of our pots.  We ended up choosing a faucet with a high arc and a sprayer nozzle built in to the head of the faucet.  This left a spare hole in the sink that we will eventually fill with a soap dispenser so we dont have to keep the palm olive out on the sink's ledge.

These seemingly small changes made a huge difference in our happiness with the space.  No longer do we focus on the blemishes in our cabinets and we can utilize the space in a much more comfortable way.  Of course, there is still an extensive wishlist for the kitchen, but our current set up isnt half bad.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Internet Marketing Genious

I think its google's fault.  Recently I have been shopping for things for the house online - imagine that!  I
almost never find what I am looking for but most of the time I am just shopping for ideas rather than tangible items.  Evidently the powers that be at google have been taking notice of my window shopping tendencies and have placed appropriate ads in the google reader screen at the bottom of each feed. 

Schaub & Company 237 Italian Designs Group Mosaic Cabinet KnobBefore now, the ads have not even warranted a second glace - that is until I saw this little gem.  Is it not the most fabulous drawer pull you have ever laid eyes on?!  Its angular and sparkly without being over the top.  Its a bit edgy and completely unique.  How did google know that this would be the handle I would love above all others? 

Seriously though, there are four drawers with absolutely no pulls in the guest bathroom and a cabinet that you have to pry open with your finger nails.  These are a perfect solution.  They work especially well given that I am looking to make a shower curtain for the bathroom with this striped Waverly fabric that matches the curtain in the guest bedroom.  The stripes in the curtain will be mimicked in the handles!  The handles are a bit pricey but its not preventative.  At $9 a pop thats only $36 for new drawer pulls and $12 for the larger handle for the cabinet. 

I am still working on what to paint the cabinets with in the bathroom.  The walls will eventually be grey Porpoise by Behr but the floor is tile has both tan and grey swirls in it.  The grout is a tan color (and probably needs to be redone) and the counter top is in decent shape and is a solid white-ish color.  I am thinking of using the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformation kit as seen here:

I think the Pure White color with the glaze would add a bit of interest to the natural oak cabinets without clashing with the counter top, floor, or wall color and also will not be too matchy matchy.  I still have to swing by Home Depot for a sample or two to make sure thats the color I want, but the kit is supposed to be easy to use, damned near impossible to screw up, and its blogger approved!  Its also Rustoleum brand so you know the product is going to be durable.

We did end up priming both bedrooms and the hall way last weekend with help of the FIL so stay tuned for before and aftter pics in the near future.