Tag Archives: whistle-while-you-work

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:

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

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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 😀


Music to My Eyes

I’m not one to shirk technology. I have my share of CDs and DVDs and whatnot. I draw the line at mp3 players, though. No matter how hard friends and family try to make me adapt to the changing times, I still can’t get used to downloading my favorite music to a portable player with earbud attachments.

Hell, the Walkman™ was an issue for me.

Anyway, one thing I never outgrew was my deep appreciation for vinyl. No, not the wearable kind. I’m talking about LPs, 78’s, good old fashioned records. I still own a turntable, and have most of my dad’s LP collection from the 70’s (Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, baby!), plus boxes of LP’s dating back to the 40’s. Most of those I got at a blind auction decades ago for $5. Best buy EVAH. I still have the very first album I ever owned: Asia by Asia. It was a birthday gift from a friend, and still one of my favorite things.

One thing that always bothered me was leaving them propped up in a shelf. Seemed a shame to hide the album artwork, so I managed to convince Hubby to take me to the Swedish Junk Place to get some frames for them, and I finally got around to hanging them up where I wanted.

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90125, Synchronicity, American Pie, Tubular Bells (special pressing), Outer Space Inner Mind, Asia, Eye in the Sky, and abacab. I wanted to set up the turntable under the albums but Rockband stuff is a bit bulkier than I expected. Also, not mine, so don’t judge.

One day I hope to do a mirror image of that with the classical albums, if I have room. At least it fills up an awkward space in the bonus room. Of course, it also brings attention to the crack in the wall. Something else to get fixed soon.

And I will patch it up, while listening to Leonard Nimoy 🙂


Sew Much Adventure

I began my day by tackling one of the dozen projects I listed in a previous post: the sewing machine. Mentally, I thought I was ready to clean it up and get it primed and painted in what I estimated would be a couple of hours.

Oh, I was so very wrong.

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There she is, in all her mostly clean and not as rusty glory. But the process was not as smooth as I thought it would be.

I started by setting up my cordless drill to charge. No worries, since I could go do some laundry and the bed. I come back to find the battery fully charged, and to my chagrin the part that holds the bits in place is missing. So much for using the drill. Fine….FINE!!! I will do it the old fashioned way. I go out to the garage and place the machine laying on the floor for ease of access. I get on my knees and find ten mud dauber hives. TEN!! They must have really liked this machine. Finally I see the screws, along with what seems to be an incredible amount of rust. After torquing and tweaking and squealing in frustration, I go get the WD-40™ and proceed to administer a life-giving dose to each screw. After waiting a few minutes, I begin to undo them, the oil having helped quite a bit. Finally I can remove the unusable top and in a fit of triumph I am overcome by the thought of having this chore done in an hour or so.

This is where y’all laugh. A lot.

I drag the base over to the grass, put on latex gloves and begin to spray it with Krud Kutter™. As I sprayed I scrubbed the areas with a wire brush. And scrubbed. And scrubbed. Suddenly I feel a tingle on my thumb. The latex glove is no match for the wire brush and now I have a small cut suffused with cleaner and rust.

*makes mental note to schedule a tetanus shot*

I go back to the garage and get my gardening gloves and continue to tackle the base, now free of mud dauber hives. Suddenly I feel movement inside the gardening glove. Striving not to lose my cool, I manage to get the glove off in time to see a spider crawling on my hand. This is where I jumped around and did the Tarantella, which in retrospect was rather appropriate. I calm down enough to shake out the gloves and once I am sure no other resident is inside, I put them back on and continue to scrub as much rust as I can, all the while thinking how much scrubbing needs to be done, and how suddenly the rust looks awesome and industrial chic. But no, I need to get it primed, painted and sealed. After about 45 minutes of scrubbing, I begin to rinse it off. Now it looks a bit better, but still rusty. Next step will be to sand it a bit more to dislodge as much rust as I can.

Perhaps I will get a rust-reversing primer. More and more I am liking that idea. I want to enjoy the process of upcycling, not be resentful of it. I also wish to avoid any future trips to the clinic. Getting a tetanus shot isn’t exactly how I pictured spending my free time. On the other hand, the clinic is right by Hobby Lobby, so I have that going for me, which is nice.

I’ll let y’all know how the tetanus shot goes 😉


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 😀


It’s Sunday, and I Should Be Cleaning but I Just Found Some Spray Paint and It Needs to Be Used

There has been a lot of upheaval in the house in the past two weeks. Consequently I have found lots and lots of paperwork that is A) worthless, 2) expired, and/or iii) in need of shredding. And y’all know what that means, right? It means I get to ignore it for a few days until I can come up with a plan that does not involve a lightsaber or conflagration. The HOA frowns on both. Until then, I need to start cleaning and reorganizing so I can rearrange furniture and free up space in the garage.

Some people keep their dining set in their garage, right?

Anyway, as I was cleaning up craft stuff in the garage, I came across a can of gold spray paint. Originally I had bought it to paint some wine bottles and decorate them in a country glam style for Christmas. And then I remembered my future SIL redid her guest bedroom and just needs some gold glam in it, so I’ll be using it on something today. Because a can of paint is a great reason to not do the bathrooms today, don’t you know.

So today I plan on writing (check), cleaning (a bit), shopping (for food), cooking, (for two), and painting (for fun). School starts tomorrow for Little One, so it’s important that I have a flexible schedule today in case she needs me during an absolute meltdown. And in case she needs to go through several wardrobe changes in preparation for the all-important First Day™.

*first meltdown has occurred*

Now that that’s over, we can continue to have a normal day.

Ish. 😀


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.

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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 🙂


Boredness

No, that’s not a word. But it describes my feelings rather well. Hubby and I embarked on a new experience called, “Let’s install hardwood floors and watch the dogs go insane”. For the most part it has been hilarious. The past two days I have kept busy cleaning and dusting as the floor experts worked. But today everything cam to a standstill, because the painter (who will be caulking and painting the baseboards) had a flat tire. And I have no idea where he is. And neither does his boss. And until they finish tonight I can’t run errands. And that means I can’t get lunch or a new air filter.

So I decided to work on a project that I had no idea I wanted to do.

In my house there is this…. hallway. I call it the Hallway of Lost Souls. Because we have a bonus room upstairs, there is a wall that the builders put up to be load-bearing. Well, this wall divides the “formal” dining room from the …… three feet to the kitchen wall. It is a useless hallway, and if I A) had the money, 2) was planning on retiring in this area and keeping the house, and iii) cared enough, I would have hired some contractor to put a support beam and get rid of the damn wall. But as it is, I just dealt with it by hanging wall art that really didn’t fit anywhere.

old hallway

There is obviously a crappy light fixture which I will replace pronto. Anyway, those prints don’t go with anything in the house. I just hung them there when we first moved in because I had no idea what to do with them. That was eight years ago. The little house is a keepsake with all our names hanging from the hearts. That also really doesn’t go there. So, I went to the garage and dug up some stuff I had: old frame, fabric, cork pieces, an old “S”, and paint. I also had a chalkboard sold “as is” at Michaels™ that had been gouged on the bottom of the board area. And I got to work. I spray painted the old frame in an heirloom white, covered  cardboard in the burlap-like fabric, painted the “S” and adhered to wrapped cardboard, and added a flower. Then I cut pieces of corkboard to fit the gouged area and adhered to the board. I found one of my Longaberger Baskets™ to hold chalk and eraser, and now I have a message center.

new hallway

And now I have less crap in my garage, all because I had boredness. Now it’s time to work on the mirrors that will go in my dining room, flanking my Wall of Light™. But that will have to wait until I change the drapes and paint the block shelves. Change is coming, oh yes it is 😀