Friday, August 9, 2013

Ooooh Girl I love your legs!

Well... Not my legs per se, but... you know.

Slowly but surely I'm getting back into the groove on things. This past weekend I began to tackle this here project.

What is it you ask? It's an armoir for my guest bedroom. Best part about it, it was FREE. Yes free! A client of mine was getting rid of it... and well storage space around my parts is at a premium. So I was excited to get this piece even if it needs some much needed TLC.
Working outside these days is the most efficient spot I have to do projects. So to the front yard became my workspace. I laid all the pieces out in order to sand them.
The piece originally had these bun feet. I just KNEW they had to go!! Lucky for me, I had 4 classy feet/legs waiting for me. I picked them up a couple years ago from a yardsale and had been holding onto them for the perfect moment...... That moment was NOW.
See what a difference the new legs made?! Totally updated the overall piece and for CHEAP. I think I paid $2 for the set of 4.
Girrrlll looking purty already!!! 
I decided once the feet were on, and that the pieces had been sanded, that it'd be easier to paint all put together and that way too- I could figure out what repairs etc had to be made.
Work it girl! Love how the armoire now sits up a bit. Made such a huge difference don't you think??
Next up was priming it. Which interestingly enough went pretty well. However, the inset panels must of been painted with perhaps oil paint. As I primed, the paint literally was smearing with mine.. So a second coat of primer is definitely in order.
Big changes already!!
Overall I'm working with bedding that's a metallic seafoam green, that has a cream, latte and chocolate brown scroll work to it. The walls are a rose color. 

So the million dollar question is, what color fro the armoire?! I have an idea in mind, but want to see what you all think! Who knows, maybe we're all on the same page! 

Stay tuned for the reveal! 

And in case you missed it, here's why I've been gone so long. 

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Long overdue post

Wow guys, pardon my absence. If you read the recent blog post from December, then you may of assumed things haven't been great.

The long and short of it is that it's been a roller coaster. Especially since January and even more so in May.

With a tearful heart, my Dad did pass away May 29th after a long 9 month battle of side effects from his lung surgery last August 2012.

After months of ups and downs, collapsed lungs and far too many bouts of pneumonia, he passed peacefully alone in a hospice setting. I've been a whirlwind of emotions. I have flown several times to see him since January, trying to get every minute to count. Often times gowned up and sitting for endless hours in  ICU watching the constant beeps and dings of monitors.

Services were held June 1st. I couldn't of asked for a better turn out. It was a beautifully fitting service, down to the decor, photographs displayed, music played etc.

He'd be happy at how it went.

No more tubes for Daddy. He's free.

I recently posted my eulogy on a separate page. You can read it here.

At any rate, big things are about to happen around the casa. What you may ask??

Well you'll just have to stay tuned for a future update!!

Hope everyone has been well!

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

I'm around

Life has been nutty crazy lately. Pardon my absence.

While it's not fair to my regular readers and followers--- time away from the blog is much needed.

Dad continues on his health battles. He remains in a rehab facility and continues regular physical therapy. No telling when he is coming home. He was most recently diagnosed with cataracts which will be operated on at some point.

Dec 16th was his birthday --He made it to 64. Woot!

When I saw him in November I brought him a fleece Cubs blanket. He was very happy to get it in case you can't tell!

Couple weeks ago I met the Lady herself.... Paula Deen that is. 

I'll return in full swing after the new year. Stay tuned folks!

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Gone "fishing"... Not really.

Taking hiatus.
Going to see Dad. He's been transferred to a nursing home for an indefinite period of time.

If you have "well" parents, give them a hug and a squeeze. Let them know how much you love them... 'cause one day "I love you" might be the only words you can understand from them..

My dads best friend from college has gone a few times to see him and texted me a pic of my Daddy. Looks alot better than when I saw him in ICU but still a long ways to go to get him able and healthy enough to come home.

Cancer sucks.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Happy Birthday

Happy 3rd Birthday to my Gracie Bear.. It was about 2 1/2 years ago I rescued her from the streets.

She's brought so much joy and love and makes the house complete. She loves everyone and everyone loves her. So here here to Gracie girl!

You can read her story here. 

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A blog post of a different sort

It's been a week of awesome and then I've gone silent again.

Sorry ya'll.

Dad is still fighting for his life. I've been fairly open about his ordeal only because it's motivated me to make changes in my own life as far as healthier eating, cutting way way way down on processed foods etc etc.

I've also been watching/reading alot about the Gerson Therapy-- which is a semi extreme form of eating but it has been shown that cancers have been healed by eating that way.

Needless to say, I've also signed up to run not one but TWO 5k's coming in December. It's been several years since I last ran a 5k. Now I'm challenging myself to running 2 5k's within Two weeks. Am I nuts? YES!

Hoping between now and then I get enough training in. Anyone want to be running buddies?

Ok, so back to Dad....

For anyone who missed it, Dad is still in rehab. He has been there since Sept 12th.
 (This saga began Aug 24th with the return of cancer in the lung and lung surgery--removing 25% of his left lung)

Unfortunately thanks to our lovely health care system, he needs to be out of there this week. They are looking into other facilities to transport him to, as he is still not well enough and hasn't made enough progress to go home.

He is still on oxygen, and a trach that needs to be suctioned multiple times a day. (While my Stepmom has been heroically dealing with his feeding tube for the past 3 years, dealing with the trach is another story. It's painful to watch let alone do. I walked out of the room when the nurse came to do it in August---One look at my Dad wincing in pain and gagging and that was enough for me....Carolyn too.)<----There's reason I never pursued a medical field! 

 He's balance and walking is not too great either--(probably from being bed ridden and only intravenous food, possibly an issue with the inner ear) he's using the aid of a walker and the other day walked up the hall and back. If he was home and fell my stepmom wouldn't be able to get him up.

 So continue thoughts and prayers that a new facility is found that will take him and that I can come across the resources to get myself up there and be among family within the next few weeks. I don't have the means to fly up and my truck is in dire need of 2 new tires that would make me scared to drive the 1,000 miles solo.... *sigh* 

I hate to be Debbie Downer, and while the blog is about all my remodeling/designy stuff, this has taken priority at the moment. 

Daddy-Daughter Dance

If, I'm quiet lately there's just a lot internally going on. I'd do anything to take his place...

Thanks everyone.


Dad was transported to a nursing home this evening about 7pm. I've been told they've inserted something to bypass the oxygen in the trach allowing him to talk. He's sometimes audible, sometimes garbled. Motor skills are still an issue but writing is improving and he's able to use the TV remote.. That's HUGE progress from when I saw him last. Today he used a cane and did some walking. Still getting tired and winded quickly. He's got a neurologist appointment November 1st to see if anything else is going on and hopefully an ENT appointment to see if there's any inner ear issues causing some of the balance/coordination trouble. His mind is still sharp, witty and sarcastic. He's "with it" knowing the day, who's seeing him etc. He understands what's going on around him and while he wants to go home he understands that he's just not well enough yet.... That is all.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lesson learned!

You. Cannot. Trust. Home Depot. To. Mix. Paint.


With the start of my "secret" room that I am working on, I needed paint. No biggy right? most home decorating/remodeling takes paint.

I oohh'ed and ahhhh'ed over swatches for days, mocked up schemes on my walls, sat, pondered, asked fellow Facebook followers for input, sat and pondered some more, slept on it, dreamed of it, drank coffee with it...... You get the idea.

I started with these images for inspiration:

From Luxe Chandelier
From: Lonie Mae Blog 
Which led me to this:
You all gave me your thoughts on Facebook.
I in turn went to my walls with paint again asking for thoughts.

With the jury weighing in on colors, I went to actual samples. Narrowing down my choices to 3 and working with the paint I already had.
Again, you all voiced your opinions on Facebook. Whatever would I do without you?!

So the color was chosen and I went to pick up the paint after a hectic day. I headed to the neighborhood Home Depot, with my color swatch in hand. Now, I don't know about you, but I am a fan of Benjamin Moore paint. It applies well, durable, easy to use --but comes with one draw back, price. I am keeping this project budget friendly for obvious a paint budget isn't large as I would rather spend money on other things to get the room "just right."

So at the local Home Depot I hand over my swatch reluctantly. The counter had a hand written sign stating, "Color Match machine is down." I sighed as the associate came over to help. She stated that since I had the color name and number they could just "look it up". "Groovy" I thought! I kindly asked for 1 Gallon of Behr Paint and Primer in 1, Eggshell finish, Interior Paint. Within minutes the colorant was added and my lovely gallon was in the shaker getting mixed.

Moments later the associate returned, plopped the gallon on the counter, popped open the lid and ****GASP**** Brown/Taupe paint!!!!! Really? Say it isn't so!

She dabbed the paint on directly on my swatch and we waited for it to dry. I protested and stated that the color was completely off. I proceeded to ask if the other location had their color match machine up. The associate double checked, confirmed that they did. I grabbed my fan deck, my keys off the counter and headed to the second Home Depot location across town.

There, I met with the associate at the paint counter. I explained my dilemna and she said we could mix into a tester. Perfect. She did just that. The sample was mixed, the lid taken off and AGAIN...Brown/Taupe paint!!
What the heck?! So she tried color matching the swatch and the computer returned the same code as typing in the sample, she re-callibrated the machine and tried again. Again, brown/taupe paint to no avail. Definitely not my beautiful grey color I was going for.

Defeated I left, walked out to the parking lot and looked on my phone for the information for the Benjamin Moore store. We recently got one back in town. The economy has taken a hit to small independents.

So, I called the store, talked to Brad, the owner and explained the situation. Gave him the color information, what finish etc I needed it in etc and asked if he could mix it for pick up. The store closed at 5:30.. it was already 5:15.. Can you feel the pressure?

Dodging in and out of traffic I made it to Brad's place by 5:24. Thankfully another customer was in the store, and I highly doubt he would've closed up knowing I was on my way.
I was never so happy to see the blown up paint can!!

My paint was waiting for me at the counter and I was in the meantime schooled on WHY Benjamin Moore paint's can accurately be color matched.

So basically, Benjamin Moore uses a more "pure" colorant that the competitors. The bases are different as well. Benjamin Moore also has a true clear colorant that's added, whereas competitors have a tint which adds to your final paint color making it slightly off.

I'd be interested to see how Lowe's does on color matching my selected color. As for now, I am happy to have the correct color... Even if I had to pay $50 for the gallon.

Let progress commence!

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

DIY Laundry Soap revisited

It's been over a year and I continue to make my own powder laundry detergent.

In college it was discovered that I am allergic to Snuggle Fabric Softener  Unfortunately finding that out was no easy feat. It was determined by a process of elimination and suffering with hives for over 2 weeks.

I haven't turned back. Snuggle, is well.....not so snuggly to me!

So I originally wrote about making laundry soap back in April of 2011. I've since then revised my recipe slightly. 

Ingredients needed:
2 Cups 20 Mule Borax
2 Cups Washing Soda
2 Bars grated Ivory (Or Felz Nappa, Zote, etc)
1 Cup Oxi Clean (optional)
3/4 cup Downy Unstoppables scent booster (optional)

First I grated my soap, Ivory is a little softer so it gets a little mushy when grating. No biggy for me, but I've heard that letting the bars air out for a couple days before making it helps.

Too, you can microwave Ivory for about 90 seconds turning it into an airy crumbly texture. It can be ground in a blender or food processor.. Too much work for me-- I'll still grate it. Afterall, it doesn't take THAT long.

This part is especially fun if you have kiddos who want to help. (I don't, but I have plenty of friends' kids I can borrow any time I get that maternal itch)
Next I add in my other powders,  1 Cup Oxiclean (That was the last of my container) 2 Cups Borax, 2 Cups Washing Soda and 3/4 Cup Downy Unstoppables.--I initially added the Unstoppables, then scooped them all back out, pulverized them into powder form via my coffee grinder... and then added them back to the mix. So, 3/4 cup Down Unstoppables. 
Once my ingredients were added to my bowl, I stirred up the mix and dumped it all into my now empty Oxiclean container. (Or a pretty jar, container, etc etc)

So, that's the easy part folks! Use 1-2 tablespoons per load. This is a low suds soap and while you're water may be gray and there won't be any bubbles present, rest assured you're laundry is getting clean!

Now for the hard part, the cost break down, aka math. Not my strong suite but here it goes! 
(Prices based on online listings, of course you can save more by shopping locally, coupons, retailer deals etc) 

Unstoppables : $6.97 per container, 13.2 oz, 3/4 cups used  (.075oz used)  *0.53cents /oz*
20 Mule Borax: $3.38 per container at Walmart 76oz, 2 cups used. (16oz used ) *0.04 cents/oz*
Arm and Hammer Washing soda $3.87 per container at Ace Hardware 55oz, 2 cups used (16oz used) *0.07 cents/oz*
Ivory soap: $1.59 for 3pk at local Kroger 2bars used. approx (16oz used) *.53 cents per bar*
Oxi Clean: $9 per container 56oz,  1 cup used (8oz used)  *16cents/oz*

So total is about 56.75oz of dry powder, which amounts to about 7 cups.

16 Tablespoons per cup X 7 Cups=112 tablespoons or LOADS from one batch. (56 loads if you use 2 tablespoons/load) 

Now for the cost break down: 

Unstoppables= .40cents per batch 
Borax= .71cents per batch
Washing Soda=1.12 per batch 
Ivory soap= 1.06 per batch
Oxi Clean= 1.28 

Total $4.57 per batch of soap / 112 loads= .04 cents a load for soap 
(Again about .08 cents per load if you are using 2 tablespoons per load) 

You can save further on this recipe by making your own Washing Soda.. Yes I said it, you can MAKE Washing Soda. The difference between Baking Soda and Washing Soda is the chemical composition which can be altered by baking, Baking Soda. Don't believe me? Check it out over at Penniless Parenting. Penny describes the process and science way better than I can! 

-- Now, I'm just one person and average 2 loads of laundry a week. (More if I do bedding or dog bedding etc) With that being said, I can get away with about 28 weeks worth of soap, or 7 months on ONE batch! So roughly about .65 CENTS per MONTH for laundry soap! 

Have I convinced you yet to take the plunge and make your own? C'mon, it's easy, cost effective and I HIGHLY doubt you can find commercial laundry soap at this price! 


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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Muscle work out

Back in May, I reported that the deck had been taken down. You can read about it here. What I failed to mention, is that a concrete slab has been added.

The deck still has yet to be rebuilt. For obvious reasons, it's been put on the back burner.

There was already a small slab.. but the idea was to extend it further. When the deck is rebuilt there will be a door of some sort to get underneath it if needed. The idea with the slab is that I can store all my out of season planters, pots etc if needed under there.

I started by making a form from some wood I had laying around. I made certain that the top of the form would make this part of the slab even with what was already there. My helpers were with me the weekend that this was done which was a good thing to have some extra sets of hands. 

Pardon the partial hand in the picture. Stakes were added around the form to give it more support. Once the concrete was poured in, I did not want the form to bow and get all wonky. I held the form together with wood screws. 

 10 bags of concrete initially got me started.. Each weighed 60lbs... you do the math! --Lots of heavy lifting occurred, lemme tell you that!
 Once the form was complete and stable, it was time to add some pea gravel as a base.
 As my helpers finished screwing in some more supports, I began to add the gravel.
 Once the gravel base was added, it was finally time to mix and pour in the concrete. Because of the weight of the concrete and my sub-par wheel barrow, it was determined that only 2 bags could be mixed at a time.
 Getting the right amount of water added to the mix was a little tricky. I didn't want it to be a soupy mess yet at the same time, I didn't want it clumpy.

 The initially amount of concrete was added by the shovel full. I then used a float and smoothed it all out a section at a time.

 Once I realized that 10 bags of concrete were not going to be enough, I moved the edge of the form inward to make a smaller section to fill.

 I continued to add more shovel fulls of concrete until finally it was full. I smoothed the whole thing out and let it set up.

 The end result turned into a decent slab extension. Another 7-8 bags of concrete filled in the section not yet complete in this picture.
There's about a 8" section still not yet complete. The forms still remain for now. But heck, at least it's progress! It's the life of the creative types--- start a zillion projects but take forever to complete them!

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Toddler Painting

I mentioned a bit ago I had traveled to Boston in July, pre-mid-life-crisis, worldcomingtoanend saga of August.

My nieces pieces lives there and this other than her 1st Birthday, this was the only other time I have gotten to see her. Ok, I take that back, her uncles Wedding Sept 2011 too.

Needless to say at 2 1/2 she's a blast to be around. We had fun touring the city by foot, and train.  She has endless enthusiasm for carousels, which are in several parks there. 

We enjoyed Mexican Tapas dining and Crabmeat sandwiches and oysters. We got to ride on the Swan Boats and enjoyed a weekend get away to Cape Cod.
One of the last mornings I was there, still in Pj's we hung out on the front porch and created a little artwork. Ginny LOVED it.  We loosely followed the idea of Cherry Blossom artwork which has been seen all over the place lately. 
 First I explained and showed Ginny how we were going to do it. I brought all the supplies with me as I traveled. I'm sure the airline thought I was slightly nutty... oh well! 

Then she helped to apply paint and stamp. 
Finally, like any artist she had to "sign" her name. --We used letter stamps for her name. 
Afterwards she had fun being outside in her panties.. and proceeded to "hide" one of the letter stamps in her undies proclaiming, "Auntie, where's the letter go?" haha-- too cute. 

After a scrubby dub in the tub, the artist was ready to reveal her masterpiece. 
 If that's not one proud little artist, then I don't know what is! 

I hope to be able to see her again real soon. We skype occasionally but not often enough. Oh how I miss her so! 

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