Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Brass Light Re-Do, cont.

So we worked on the thrifted brass light from this weekend again this evening, trying to turn our brass lights gray. (That was meant to be a spin on Turn Your Brown Eyes Blue, but I think we can both agree it did not quite get there.)

This weekend, I spray painted it with gray primer, and we liked how it looked so much, we decided that should be its permanent color. Having painted many of our rooms gray, we still had LOTS of paint samples, enough in fact to make a gray rainbow, if there was such a thing.

We were afraid to go too blue, in case it looked too baby boy. I wanted really light gray; Mike was leaning toward dark. We settle in the middle on "Legend" by Valspar. I think it is the 4th from the left in the picture above.


Earlier this year, we read that you could paint any paint over spray primer, even hobby paint, so we are hoping satin wall paint over spray primer will work. Interestingly, with one coat brushed on the light fixture, the color seems very very close to the primer color, when on the sample lid it looked a lot darker. 

It's coming off a lot whiter in the pictures. In real life, it's really gray. While I painted, I paid the most attention to looking from the bottom up, since I figure that will be the most viewed area.

So far, it looks pretty smooth. Hopefully it will dry well. One disadvantage to the wet paint being the same color as the primer is that it is hard to see what is covered and what is not.

The top half of this is painted, the bottom half is just primed. Hopefully once it dries tomorrow we can see where we stand. The project sits in the, "I want it done to see how it looks in our room already" stage.

While we worked, we admired the forsythia that we planted last year. It popped yesterday, but I had to work late, so today was the first day I could enjoy it.

The forsythia is blooming, the trees, especially the magnolias and cherries are out, and the bulbs are going crazy. Spring has totally sprung in PA. How is it at your house?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Things that Make Me Go Ewww. . .Gold Edition

There are some things in our house (okay many) that make me go ewww. . .

I wish I could wave my magic wand (wait - I don't have one) and instantly get rid of:

Gold outlet plates and builder-grade yellowish outlets - ick

Instead, slowly and steadily, every time we are at Lowe's we spend another $5 to change one for a white version. Slow and steady. . .a few hundred dollars later, we should be all un-golded. A few hundred dollars after that we should be white-outlet-ed.

Anything that drives you crazy in your house? Anything cost way more than it should because many little things add up to one big expense? Happy reno-ing!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Is There Hope?

So we bought an amaryllis in a day-after-Christmas sale at Target. It has grown and grown and grown, but no flower.

Is there hope? Will we have a flower? Any ideas? We are losing bulb hope. At least the ones outside are making up for it. Happy first day of Spring!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Negative Failure - What We Did This Weekend

Happy Monday all! How was your weekend? We had one of those weekends that just sped past. We were always doing something, but looking back it seems like we did not get that much done for all the work we put into 48 hours. A recap of our activities:


Both Friday afternoon and Saturday morning we spent thrifting. Thifting/antiquing is one of our favorite activities, however it seems like very few trips ending in an actual purchase. Magically, this weekend we scored big with a ten dollar light fixture:
It's brass. but we already been primed it and will soon be another color. Possibly gray?

We also have wanted a window seat in our bedroom, and this cabinet should fit almost perfectly. It just needs a new paint job and possibly some new hardware.

Lastly, we bought this great blue velvet wing-backed chair. I LOVE velvet. I would like (ala George Costanza) to be surrounded by it 24/7. Oh social convention, why do you not want me to be happy? I will have to content myself with velvet furniture until our society is willing to open its mind to a velvet covered world.
Hello! My name is Chester. I'm pretty. 
We got $15 off the chair and cabinet when I offered the manager $105 for both (originally the chair was $55 and the cabinet $65). With tax both items ended up just shy of $112.

The haggle does not come naturally to me. I was charged with adrenaline for like an hour after we left the store. Mike (the husband) is also not a natural haggler. He usually does his best to stay on the other side of the store when a deal is going down. This trip I was pleasantly surprised in that he did not run away mid-haggle or try and offer the man more than the asking price. Progress!

We are thinking of using Chester as a desk chair in the office. His back is somewhat stained, so if we cannot clean him up enough, he can have a forward facing home in our bedroom instead.

Saturday we also went to Lowe's to buy a piece of drywall for the kitchen. We were worried that we would not be able to fit a whole piece of drywall in the all-serving minivan (minivan, megafun!) so we became the people cutting drywall in the parking lot.

Large piece of drywall, small trunk
No problem, just measure the width you need, score it with a utility knife,

and snap it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Drywall that will fit into the van.

That night we celebrated St. Patrick's Day with friends.

Ahh, I am starting to remember what we spent so much of this weekend doing - yes it's coming back now -  hanging out with friends until way too late, and then sleeping way into the next morning. Oh well, the party was worth it.

On Sunday we did manage to fix food for the week, a bunch of recipes from different awesome blogs- including rice bowls with cashews and tofu (awesome!), oatmeal muffins (okayish - could have done without the fruit - used pecans instead of walnuts),

Potato and squash gratin - so easy and so yummy - we used some of the last of the blue potatoes from our garden

Vanilla Bean Scones - so good - but very time consuming - this picture is pre-icing

Chickpea Casserole - so amazing and flavorful

We always feel so good when we have our food for the week ready by the time the work week starts. Sunday was a yummy day, and now the rest of the week will be too.

We also primed the light fixture:
Rustoleum primer - seemed to work great

Our last major weekend project was hanging some drywall in the kitchen where the soffit used to be. It was NOT easy -  thus the name of this post. By the end of holding half a sheet of drywall over his head for a long, long, long time, as I screwed in the other side, ran some errands, and recited the pledge of allegiance (or that is how long it seemed at least), Mike said his muscles reached negative failure. In other words, he could not lift his arms over his head for the next few minutes.

Happily, the ex-soffit now has the start of drywall, both on the wall and the ceiling:

Even this little bit makes such a difference. We are adding not taking away. Thank goodness.

So that was our weekend. What did you do?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Daylight Savings Time - Sign Me Up!

So I am still not clear why we can't just have the same time all the time, and that first Monday it was a you-know-what to get out of bed, but I love the extra hour of light at night.

Cheers to the time change!

Happy Weekend!


February and March flowers bring . . .wait, that's not how it goes. . .

It's supposed to be April showers bring May flowers, right? Not so much this year.

This winter has been VERY mild in the Northeastern United States. I know that many other parts of the world have had the opposite experience, but here in PA, the flowers started in February this year. In Texas, some of the flowers have already come and gone by February, but here in PA this is not a common experience. So now we are in March and in our front bed (lots of sun) all kinds of things are starting to bloom.

In early February, our beds already looked like this. Try to ignore the horrid white pipe (working on it) and focus on the lovely crocuses.
Last late February, our bed looked like this:

Things were barely started to pop their green heads out of the ground. And now. . .

The flowers greet me every night when I get home, and it makes me happy.

As always, I say WELCOME spring! We missed you! I hope your Spring flowers greet you this week.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Little Light Dreaming

I dreamed about finding/buying light fixtures last night.

This is probably not healthy.

There were many antique light fixtures in my dream, and in one instance I saw an awesome ceiling pendent on the curb. We could not pull over right away, so we had to circle the block. Driving back someone else had already taken it. It looked like this but in my dream it was hot pink.

It looked good in pink.

Perhaps I need a small house renovation break.

:) RM

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Bar Cart - Pinterest Challenge

On Pinterest (such an awesome way to save images online!) I kept seeing all these well-appointed bar carts like this:

and I wanted one too! We now have a grand total of 4 bottles of alcohol in the house. People should be able to see!

As soon as they walk into the living room, we want our friends to know that we have the ability to make them a Pimm's Deluxe or a margarita (but that's really pretty much it). We also have many beautiful pieces of depression era glassware from my Great Aunt Minnie, and it would be nice to display them. It would even save us cabinet space. It seemed like a win-win. The lose-lose part of this is that bar carts are not cheap. Happily, at the antique mall one day we meet this guy (please excuse the painter's tape):

Note - in the picture - it's summer. This was one of those delayed projects.

He was $15 dollars regular price, but a sale put him in our van (not in the creepy way) for something like $12.75. Even the cashier commented, saying that this was the least expensive bar cart he had sold in a long time. We were not digging the color, so out came the spray paint. First primer:

and lots and lots of taping to spray the inside green and the outside white.

Eventually everything was spray painted. The cart then lived in the basement for many months, as other projects took our attention, and we debated whether the green was too pool table/ tennis court. We are going to live with it awhile before we decide.

Inspired by the Pinterest challenge, we finally put it together tonight.

Then we loaded it up:

Now it sits at the back of the living room, looking awesome and especially looking done. Thanks Pinterest challengers. You helped me get on it all ready!

To see the other Pinterest challenge completions go to:

Katie’s, Cassie’s, Erin’s, and Young House Love.

Margarita anyone?

Celebrating Pi with Pie

It's 3/14. Do you know what that means? To math geeks (total compliment!) it means that it is Pi Day. (3.14 - see it?)

In honor of this special day, I have made an apple pie for a Pi party (See it? We are celebrating Pi with pie. . .oh the pun we will have. I'll stop.), a mathematically themed celebration at school.

Homemade pie crust is one of my great joys in life. . .even if this one stabbed me in the back by developing a small leak that then burned the bottom of the pie.

Wicked pie. Is this any way to celebrate Pi? I am bringing it to school anyway. No time to make another. Have a mathematically satisfying day! RM

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Master Bedroom, Then and Now

Our master bedroom is currently upstairs in the largest bedroom. Largest bedroom! Makes sense, right? Where else would it be? 

When we first moved here, we slept in the now living room so that we could paint upstairs. It was strange, for months we didn't use the upstairs at all except to shower. I would sometimes forget it was there. Plus, the downstairs was as big as our Philly apartment and twice as big as any space I'd had in NYC, so not having more space seemed totally normal.We did not have many people over to experience the mattress on the living-room floor, but it was working for us short-term.

Our first "master bedroom" in the living room of our home sweet townhome. Note the now walk-through to the kitchen is still just a pass-through in this picture.

Then one day one of the cats got mad that we had guests, the bed suffered, and so we moved upstairs to a room with a door. We were now (then) sleeping in the now guest room. It was nice to have a door, but the bed was still on the floor.

Our office bedroom with the Daisy - the bed basically filled up the whole room

In the "real" master, we were painting, removing carpet, and installing crown and chair rail molding. It was also basically serving as our work room and tool shed.

The master bedroom as a tool shed and workspace during painting

The master after adding crown and chair rail, still a tool shed, still orange shag, but improving

This is where the compressor, miter saw, and plants lived for several months. We weren't worried about messing up the carpet. In fact, we reveled in its destruction.

Not to be snotty, but we are still enamored with our color choices

Then we started pulling up the carpet. Joy! Happiness! Orange shag be gone! Yay!! Don't breath in too deeply.

The underlay just kind of disintegrated. Gross-ness.
After a few months with our future bedroom as a construction area, we had painted, molding-ed, removed hundreds of carpet staples, and de-shag-ed so we moved in to our (hopefully) final location. A bedroom connected to the bathroom! Oh happy day! Yes, we were and are without real flooring. Aka, we are still on the subfloor. At least the walls looked awesome. 

Our bed, off the floor at last
 Since the big move, we have put up curtains and shears and added a black-out layer to the curtains.

When we bought the house, the only overhead lights upstairs were in the bathroom and the hall. We had electricians install overhead lights in every room, but we did not yet have fixtures. So the electricians installed whatever fixture and bulb they had in the truck. Practically every room got something different. Our room got a spotlight. Unique, yes. Staying? Not so much.

We still have not decided on what to do with the floors. We are thinking of carpet, so that the dogs are not always slipping.

We have two big closets, but if all goes according to plan, we hope to lose one to expand the bathroom. . .someday. The closet we plan to keep we Elfa-ed and we LOVE it.

The open door leads to the hall, the closed door goes to the bathroom. The stairs to nowhere serve to get the dogs to high places when needed (like the car or the bed).

Daisy rightly thought the pictures would benefit from her being in them. She really ups the pretty factor.

Barbara Eden felt the same way.

So now we just need to:
  • Decide on a floor covering (maybe carpet?)
  • Pay for the floor covering (maybe sell some plasma?) (kidding)
  • Install a window seat
  • Put in some extra closets
  • Put in a light fixture (the husband is thinking a fan and I am still thinking)
  • Install some bookshelves
  • Put in some seating
  • Get new side tables
  • Get some drawers for under the bed
  • Put up some curtains for closet doors
  • Hang some art and a mirror
  • Other stuff that is not occurring to me right now but will in the future
So we are maybe half to a third of the way on the master? How are you doing in the room where you spend at least a third of your day? Do you have carpet? Do you like it?