Category Archives: Home Improvement

Panes in the Neck

I’m a big fan of old windows. BIG fan. I must have ten or so in my garage, all waiting to be transformed like I did the one over my mantel. I took a six-pane wood window and sanded the old paint off, then repainted it and made it look old by distressing it with sandpaper.

The irony of removing the old patina to replace with new old patina is not lost on me.

Anyway, I have plans for most of the windows in the garage. But some are what I call “redundant”. I have plans for one in X style, but have three other X style windows and NO IDEA why I got them save the fact that they are old windows. I’m all about renew, reuse, recycle, save money and use vintage. Now, vintage is “in”, so it is getting a bit pricey at the boutique antique places, but you can still find a lot at flea markets and garage sales for way less. Seriously, I found a silver-plated flute for $10 and a typewriter table for $3 at the local flea market. Boutique antique shops would sell those items at premium prices.

By the way, guess where I’m going this weekend? That’s right. I’m gonna pop some tags, I got $20 in my pocket!

Back to the point of this ramble. I have all these old windows. I also have an unremarkable backyard. It slopes in a weird way and has these weird angles. So I went to my rabbit hole, AKA Pinterest and did a search for reusing old windows. And of course, found an easy solution.

Not exactly what I want, but close. I do want one of the windows on hinges so it opens. And I want to use shelf brackets on the joints of the two windows on the roof for decorative purposes. But it’s an idea. And it would free up a lot of stuff in the garage. Um, a lot of breakable stuff.

It’s an adorable (yes, I used that word) addition to the backyard and would be a pretty focal point, as well as a nice place to display sun-loving flowers. As for the rest of the windows, who knows. I thought maybe make end tables, or mirrors, or maybe a curio cabinet.

But for now, one idea at a time 😉


Sew Done

A few weeks ago, I regaled you with the tale of my sewing machine redo. Fun times, right? Who can forget the spider in the glove, or the tetanus scare?

I know I can’t.

Here is the before:

WIN_20150924_135839

Honestly, I still like the rusty look of it. But the after is still rather stunning.

WIN_20151014_100019

I went looking high and low for a glass top and the cheapest I could find was $80 for a 16″x 24″ size. As luck would have it, the antique store where I bought the machine had that glass top outside and the owner let me have it for free, since she couldn’t figure out what to do with it. Totally winning!!

As I was leaving with it, I noticed she had yet another antique sewing machine, everything in good condition except the table. And my eye wandered to it. Do I have a place for it? Do I have a plan for its future use? Of course I don’t! But it can sure be pretty as a sideboard 😀


Craftoholism

Seems I suffer from that affliction.

Ever since Hubby’s job took him to DC, I have been trying to fill my days doing something besides cleaning. Yes, I have kept the house relatively clean but I have some things that hinder my progress in organizing it. First, I have the old bathroom mirror still taking residence in my dining area. My niece’s fiance wants it, but doesn’t have the transporting capabilities at the moment. Second, my son’s loft bed is still intact. My BIL wants it, but has not had time to come disassemble it, and transport it back to Houston. Frankly, I am getting ready to disassemble it.

With an ax.

Anyway, because of the absence of Hubby and Son, and because I have only one other person to cook for (and that person doesn’t eat much), I have been trying to keep myself busy enough so that I don’t miss them too much. Eldest has now been gone for a year, so that void has lessened. But the house still echoes sadly, even with the dogs here. So to counter the loneliness, I have gone whole hog and begun a series of projects:

  • Refinish thrift store dining set
  • Repaint thrift store nightstands
  • Repaint flea market frames
  • Make headboard out of old frame
  • Convert old sewing machine to a vanity
  • Make statement mirror for above mantel
  • Make coffee table stand for traffic light
  • Refinish and paint thrift store folding chairs
  • Make pumpkin topiaries for front door area

I think that’s it. But before I can do the big stuff, I have to get rid of the loft bed, so I can move Son’s stuff upstairs and move the office stuff to his room along with the chess table that is also taking up residence in my dining area so that I can finally do the dining set and place THAT in the dining room, once the mirror is gone. So now you know why I want to take an ax to the bed.

Until stuff leaves this house, I am in a holding pattern, but at least there are small things I can do to keep busy. I have finished the drawers, and painted vases, and managed to complete a wall project for my room. So I have that going for me, which is nice.

Keeping busy is the best antidote for loneliness. Well, next to eating ice cream. But until Blue Bell™ supplies stabilize, sanding and painting will have to suffice 😉


Why Siths Should Never Watch Home Improvement Shows

It took me a long time to realize it, but it’s true. Siths should never, ever watch home improvement shows.It is hard for me to accept, but there it is.

I am not a fan of what people call “reality shows”. Seems like a fishbowl of drama and frankly, not real at all. That’s why I began to watch home improvement shows. People had the same problems I do: leaky roofs, bad insulation, Formica™. You watch to learn what wonderful improvements you can do to your home to update it and make it look Imperial. Who DOESN’T want a lightsaber sconce in their bedroom?? Or a Death Star light fixture??

Yes, I am making one of those. No, it’s not for me.

But then slowly it begins to seep in. You begin to realize that a lot of those so-called updates are for show and not for function. Anyone who knows me from the internet knows I am a big fan of bubble baths. You run hot water, add some scented bubble concoction, and sit back with a book and a glass of wine, or with the op-eds and a bottle of beer. Your own personal haven far from the madding crowd. Lately the trend in bath updates have been rather eye-catching: big stand-alone soaker tubs, rainfall showers with wall jets, bowl sinks, etc. And at first the Sith in you SQUEEEEs and wants it all like Alderaan burning. But the more you look at it, the more you start to see how impractical, how rebellious it is. Those stand-alone tubs hold almost no heat. The rainshowers feel like you are being waterboarded. The jets assault your sensitive areas when you least expect it. And those bowl sinks? Just try keeping them rebel scum free. The Force can only do so much and this is why Siths must be practical. Carrara marble? Nope, try quartz or stick with the passé granite. Better yet, go with cement countertops and steel-topped kitchen islands. Bowl sinks? Nope, try the old fashioned undermount for seamless and little grout care, or get the trough type that you can hose down (with little Siths, this is a necessity). Rainshowers? Stick to what works and has adjustable settings.

In short, after my blather above, Siths must not only be practical, they must also adhere to the aesthetics of the Empire. This is my mantra as I sit down to watch someone’s bath being crashed. The last thing I need to do is spend extra time handwashing marble tiles and shining chrome.

Though the coffeebar and wine fridge in the bath sound awfully Sithy. 😉


In a DIY Mood

I went out to the garage a few weeks ago, and tripped. If it hadn’t been for a pile of clothing headed to Goodwill™, I would have been in need of facial reconstructive surgery. It wasn’t pretty, and neither was my vocabulary. But I was gracious enough to acknowledge that most of that was my fault. I have been neglectful of my list of projects and let them pile up in the garage. For a while it was difficult to get anything done due to the scorching hot weather. But this is Texas and I am not waiting for the two days of fall to get here, so I sucked it up and got back into crafting with paint.

I’ve had a small chest of drawers that have been storing some extension cords and leg weights. Don’t ask. Anyway, it was painted a celery green with butterfly handles. Perfect for a little girl, which no longer exist in this family due to that pesky “growing up” thing.

(Yes, I cried when I took it outside to prep with primer.)

Anyway, I decided to repaint and repurpose the chest of drawers. The half bath upstairs has no storage of any kind and the chest is small enough to fit alongside the wall. Now that Hubby is gone I have to keep myself busy doing all the projects I kept putting off. I had purchased some Martha Stewart Paint™ in Polished Silver because A) it was on clearance, 2) it was shiny, and iii) I couldn’t make up my mind on what color to use. So after literally months of deliberation I finally dragged the dresser outside and painted it.

silver dresser diy 1

Wow, did it turn out pretty! Too pretty for the bathroom upstairs, so I am placing it in my bedroom for now. There’s an empty spot where his dresser used to be, so it will fill the area nicely until its return.

silver dresser diy 2

A slightly blurry close-up of the silver. Silver leaf would have been shinier, but far too expensive to use on a cheap little dresser like this. I’m ambivalent about the drawer knobs, but they will do for now.

This was the big project yesterday, but I had other smaller ones I managed to do as well. I ended up painting vases and turning them into vahses. Yeah, I don’t get why there’s two different pronunciations, either. But it sure sounds grand, doesn’t it?

Next up will be the thrift store folding chairs. If all goes according to plan, I will have them finished by October.

Of 2017 😀


Do You Even Architecture??

Sometimes knowing obscure things can work against me. Last week, Hubby and I took our monthly trip to the home improvement store to pick up random stuff for the house. As always, I take advantage of going so I can stock up on industrial crap for art projects. This time, I was on the hunt for plinths.

Do y’all know what plinths are? well, here is a sample of plinths:

antique plinths

Those pictured above are antiques. They are architectural elements used usually to adorn doorways or around pediments. That style is called “bullseye”, but other popular styles included flowers, Fleur-de-lys, and even Corinthian fluting. Anyway, I know they are still in use today, so I wanted to get a few on which to practice my chalk paint techniques and maybe use them for altered art. So, I commenced my hunt for them in the lumber section, where you would expect to find you know, wood. But no luck. Rambling and dragging Hubby along, I was unable to locate them. Finally I broke down and asked a young man for help in locating them. After mistakenly taking us to the picture hanging aisle, he was finally able to understand what it was I was looking for.

Me: (explaining for the third time in my ridiculous way) Plinths are the decoration used in corners of doorways. Little squares?

Expert: Oh! You mean corner blocks?

Me: …..not sure, but maybe?

Expert: (shows me the exact item I am looking for) Like these?

Me: YES!!! THOSE!!!

Expert: At least you know what you’re looking for. I get gentlemen that are sent by their wives to get some obscure item because she saw an idea on Pinterest–

Hubby: *points to me*

Me: Hey, *I* get my own crap for my Pinterest projects.

Expert: *laughs at me*

So this Sith Got a few plinths. As usual, Hubby has no idea what I am going to do with them. Neither do I, but having them is half the battle 😀


Home Improvement Part…. I Have No Idea

Slowly but surely I am upgrading each room in the house. As much as I would LOVE to have the Flynn Ryder twin come in and give my house a makeover worthy of Architecture Digest™, we just don’t have the moolah for that. Still, some things are worth improving due to the certain disrepair that comes with age. The bathroom tops that list for me, narrowly edging out the kitchen by a tenth of a hair. Water damage, mildew damage, curling iron damage…. it all adds up. So this year’s home improvement lottery winner was the main hall bathroom. Yes, my sanctuary will have to wait a few years before I can bring it up to Empress standards. It’s a sacrifice I was willing to make.

This is the bathroom before.

bath before 1

Not bad, but you can’t see the water damage behind the sink (THANK GOODNESS!!). It was a waste of space, having all that countertop and uncomfortable to have the sink right by the door.

Continue reading


The Perfect House

Everyone dreams of their perfect house. Some people want the picket fences and others want 12 foot high concrete walls. Some want the wood shingles while others want copper roofing. It’s fun to watch home renovation shows to see what finishes people pick for their ultimate dream home. Sometimes people are predictable and pick the same stuff as other families, like glass tiles, brushed nickel faucets, hardwood floors, etc. All of that sounds nice, but after a while it’s stuff you don’t notice much. Personally, I’m ok with just pretty tile. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s porcelain or stone or glass or mirror (mind out of the gutter) or steel. Flooring is there to be abused, so I would prefer something less flamboyant than flooring made from tips of koa trees harvested by monkeys fed exclusively on organic bananas. No, there’s no such thing. Well, koa wood is a real thing, but waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too expensive. But for me, a dream home has to be good for the long run, and there are far more important things to get than the “oooooh…SHINY!!” things.

BILT E3

Yeah, not everyone can live in a Biltmore.

My perfect house would have flooring that never scratches, breaks, chips, or stains. I’m talking titanium tiles. The windows need to be made from borosilicate and made with the same stuff in Transition™ lenses. In the living area, the fireplace will be gas, and the gas will be pumped from the local fracking area. The TV will be inset into the wall so that I never have to dust it again. The sound system will be optional so that if he wishes to hear it, I can turn my side off and save my hearing. I will not have a conventional HVAC system. I want a geothermal system, and along with that, every bathroom will have its own tankless heater. And heated floors. And towel racks. The master bath will also have a big, BIG tub. Not just a soaker, but one you have to wait two hours to fill. In the kitchen I want an Aga™ with three ovens, and seven burners and two griddles. Why? Because. Moving on, the sink will have a disposer with a two quart capacity and a Saab Turbo™ motor. The counters will be made from cement and zinc. If I have to slam a cast iron pot on the counter I want any damage to look like it was done on purpose. And finally, the very last thing I need I need in my dream home is a dryer that folds clothes.

They had one on Lost in Space and I need the technology to catch up, pronto.

I’m sure that my vision clashes a bit with Hubby’s, but I think he will be on board with most of these. Especially the sound system and TV part. I don’t think he knows what an Aga™ is anyway, nor does he care as long as I use it to make him dinner. Priorities 😀


Back to Blerghing

Sorry for my absence this past week. It was Little One’s birthday yesterday and I spent most of the week running errands in preparation for the Apocalypse the day. My Little One is no longer little, I’m afraid. She has outgrown me by a couple of inches, and I am mourning still. It’s not easy to realize your baby is 15 years old and interested in dating boys.

I may just cut myself.

Anyway it is officially Fall now, or as we in Texas like to call it, Summer v. 2.0. That means it is time to start getting the yard and the shrubbery ready for Winter, or as we call it, Fall-lite. Usually it isn’t a problem, but this past few weeks we have enjoyed copious amounts of the wet stuff that falls from the clouds. As a result, everything is flowering later than usual.

knightswhosaynimotivation

The gardenias, the crepe myrtle, the cassia…. my yard looks lovely and I don’t want to destroy it just yet. But with all the commitments and out-of-town visits planned, this weekend is my only chance at doing it. I am seriously thinking of letting it go and dealing with it in the Spring, or as we call it, Summer-lite. Time will tell. And by “time” I mean my mom, who will probably tell me to take Joaquina to it now. Of course, my mom sees a leaf fall and she is out there with a rake and a blower. Me? I’m all like, “Oh, look….a branch fell. Circle of Life, baby.” I’m not the most meticulous yard person, especially since my dog is intent on destroying it most of the time. For now, I guess I will trim a bit this weekend. Pretending to be productive is the next best thing 🙂


Picking Battles

I’m a wife and mother. Picking battles is something I do often. I have a 50% success rate, which is not bad considering.

You try dealing with a band director.

Anyway, I am slowly making some updates in the house. The floor was the latest. It was a five year wait, but completely worth it. Unfortunately, the contractor vetoed my plan to burn the Berber carpeting. He did let me stab it a few times, though. I thought he might think I was crazy but he told me his wife did the same thing. Yes, I am well aware that doesn’t rule out insanity. But it’s something. Anyway, one of the things I really, and I mean really want to do is the fireplace. It’s brick in a tan…beige…dun… blah color with blah mortar. I mean it’s there, but doesn’t stand out in any way. And that is supposed to be a feature in the living area. At first I wanted to take it all out, and replace it with slate, which is fantabulous. But the floors were paramount (not the movie company) and that was an expense we couldn’t afford. So then I decided why not paint it, right? And this is where Hubby just looked at me like I had grown another head and said I was nuts no, too much involved in doing it. So then I was casually asking my contractor how I could repaint or stain the brick on the fireplace, to which he replied that it wasn’t a great idea because of the time and amount of ventilation required.

Suffice it to say, everyone is against me.

It was grating on my nerves, dealing with the boring drabness of the fireplace. I watch Property Brothers on HGTV and see the Flynn Ryder twin repainting fireplaces all the time!! But I was vetoed. GAH!!! As I sat there, wondering which house some Canadian couple was going to buy from the dapper twin, I saw it: a bold, beautiful BIG glob of glass sitting on a shelving unit in the background. And as I looked at my fireplace, I noticed something: everything, and I mean everything I had decorating it was in the same color range as the damn brick. Browns, beiges, tans, ambers…. no wonder that fireplace was so awful. That glob of glass stood out like a gorgeous preening peacock screeching LOOK AT MOI!!! And I knew, sure as the sun will rise, that I had seen it somewhere before.

stockholm-vase

Behold Ikea’s Stockholm vase. Actually, it is one of three Stockholm vases they carry in different styles and colors. Which begs the question: why call it the same name when they are different? Well, it’s Ikea. That’s what they do to mess with the customer. I recalled seeing the vase back on Mother’s Day when I last went to Swedesville. I liked them but had no idea where I would place them in the house. So I passed on them. Fast forward a few months and I am upstate for my nephew’s wedding, and my brother’s lovely girlfriend offers to entertain me by obliging my jones and taking me to Ikea, which is only 20 minutes from her home, unlike mine which is about 2 ½ hours if I’m lucky. So now Phase One of Fireplace Redo is complete, because I bought its taller, greener brother as well. Hey, one for either side of the fireplace, ok? I know it’s female logic, but it works. Trust me 😀