Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Gonna have to face it...

...I'm addicted to blog!! Heh. I was real hesitant to even start this thing, but now I find myself wanting to post on it all the time, even if I don't have anything to say. Silly silly me. I've done no work this week so far. But that's okay, a few days of rest is good. DH is sick sick sick! Poor baby. Tonight I might actually pick up the paintbrush again to work on the remaining touchups in the dining room. And I've been making lists and spreadsheets! Woo! I love lists and spreadsheets. I'm trying to keep track of our home improvement spending, and trying to plan for exactly what we want done in the next rooms we are planning on working on - the main bathroom and the hallway! Yay!

The color in the bathroom is up in the air. We have some debate on the matter. Like the kitchen, the tile is 40's style - white with yellow trim. Well, we've not been wanting to just paint it plain old white, as it would be too much like the kitchen and we want it to have a little more interest. Right now it's baby blue (i'll post pictures later) and I guess it's not the worst but we want it different. I really wanted chocolate brown rugs and towels and some nice wood tones in there to warm it up, be we still were thinking it needed more. I thought we could strip the paint off the vanity cabinet and wood stain it, and DH loves that idea so we're definately doing that. But the wall color is still open. I had suggested yellow and white stripes - but he was skeptical. Then we were thinking very light yellow - but that might be too much yellow, and yellow isn't the most flattering color on the skin. We were also thinking beige - but, meh. Most recently he suggested green and I kind of agree.

I was thinking kind of a sunny fairy woodland kind of theme heehee. I have this nice poster that is matted and framed... it's a classic picture that you probably have seen before of a very green woodland with a maiden in old-fashioned dress standing in wonder over a circle of tiny fairies dancing. The fairies themselves have a very warm yellow glow - which would match the yellow accent tiles perfectly. Ever since he suggested green I'd been considering using that picture as our inspiration. When I finally showed it to him hesitantly (thinking it would be too girly) he actually liked it. I'm going to go get some paint chips this weekend to tape up for considering. And I'm thinking we could still use the chocolate brown accents with this color scheme. Maybe a nice light curtain for the window in a print that ties all the colors together. I actually was looking at some calico's yesterday at JoAnn's that might work. LOL, what a dork - I watch too much HGTV!

Anyhow, if I could really really have my way, I'd rip out the glass and metal shower stall and tub, install flooring underneath where the tub was, and put a nice claw foot tub in. Then install a ceiling or wall mounted shower curtain rod like the ones you can find here. I wonder how much it would really cost to do that. It's probably not in the cards, but it would make me sooooo happy. You can tell that this bathroom originally was tub only. The tub is built into a little alcove and there is tile running up the side of the cabinet at the foot of the tub. They installed the shower walls later - and consequently the wall butts up againt the foot-of-the-tub tile, with a tiny gap that dirt gets into. It's *filthy* and there is no way to clean it. UGH. Hmmm. I haven't let go of this pipe dream yet. I was eyeing clawfoot tubs when we went to Urban Ore this last weekend. Most were wrecked, but there were a couple that might have been salvageable.

Alright enough ramblings. I must work now. /cry.

Monday, January 28, 2008

One fine morning

I hope everyone's weekend was pleasant, mine was pretty good. I have a hard time sleeping in on weekends. Unless I stay up late (rare!) I usually wake up about 6:30am and feel like I've slept in. Well Saturday I woke at my usual time and went to let the dogs out and caught a glimpse of this beautiful sunrise. I rushed out with my camera to capture it...and then realized that it was *warm*!! I suppose that the storm passing over had some tropical air currents or something because it felt like a late spring morning - close to 60 degrees. I hurriedly put on my shoes and a sweatshirt and took a nice walk with Littles. It felt WONDERFUL. I needed a walk where I wasn't freezing my ass off *real* bad. It set the stage for a good day.

Of course all I did this weekend was work on the house and play video games. That seems to be my latest pattern. I almost feel like I'm caught in some kind of for 2 for 1 for 2 for 1 hour. /sigh. However, it's exactly what I signed up for. And as much as I want a nice long desire to get a serious dent in painting the inside of this house before spring is greater. So paint I did.

The living room is quite close to finished. We actually have the corner that is the new home to my piano complete - except that I need to hang some art on that wall. And the corner with the entertainment center is complete as well. Tonight I will touch up around the trim and baseboards of the dining room and we'll hang the rest of the curtains soon thereafter. Then really - all is left is a new light fixture for the dining room, sanding and painting the doors, and painting the entry way.

I would have posted pictures of the newly complete areas, but they came out all blurry. I have a nice Canon point and click digital, which does have the options for manual settings but I've never learned how to set it. So consequently I try to take pics w/o flash (I hate flash) w/o adjusting the settings first or using something to steady my hasty hands and...well yeah. I suppose I could read the instruction manual. But that would involve reading the instruction manual.

I do have a lovely shot of our new pot rack! I'm pleased with the way it turned out, though we probably need to buy more hooks. I'll leave you with some before and after. Best wishes for a fine week.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Managing to Plan

The title is an expression used in the project management world. It means that you are able to manage the project to where it stays on track the way you have planned despite roadblocks that come up. I find that I am challenged in this area. I think my problem is two-fold - I overestimate the amount of things I/we can do in a given period of time, and I underestimate the amount of time a certain thing takes to complete. But this is a learning experience after all. So there are still quite a few things left to be done on the living room. I finally have some pictures. To the left is the living room in it's before state...rather bland.
The lathe and plaster walls and ceiling had an amazing amount of cracks and holes in it. It took *forever* to patch everything and sand it all down, and try to make it match the texture of the rest of the plaster. When all was said and done it actually looks pretty good, and though the large/long patches are visible, they aren't terribly so - and the smaller ones you can't see at all.

I tried to freehand the corner where the wall color and the ceiling color met, but that was disasterous. So I added the task of taping the ceiling off when I painted the walls. That worked out better then I thought, and actually created a fine, if not entirely perfect line. I can't say the same for around the windows, where the tape pulled some of the recently applied paint from the walls. Also the trim paint seemed to seep under the tape in spots as well creating more errors. I took a tiny little craft paintbrush and touched up the spots in question and it turned out better - no one would ever know! (except that I just told you).
DH finished installing the baseboard, but just installing it. We have not yet caulked it, patched the nail head marks nor painted it. I refer back to the first paragraph here...I didn't realize how time consuming it would be to install it. He did a wonderful job! I really like the way it turned out. Unfortunately I emailed myself the wrong picture so you can't see it up close, but I'll post another picture once it's painted and done. I do think the paint color turned out lovely! And the white baseboard really sets it off. I included a full room shot, pre-baseboard so you could see the overall color and the basic idea of the new furniture set up.

So if you remember, I was concerned about the way the curtains would look against the new wall color. We hung the first of the curtains last night, and I must say my concerns have been confirmed...I don't like it. The curtains weren't my favorite to begin with. They are a little too heavy and old fashioned for my tastes. And DH doesn't like how full they are, he'd prefer something a little less "bunchy". But there are many windows, large ones at that - so from my window shopping I estimate buying even cheap curtains would cost about 200 bucks, and probably more. Even making them would be very expensive, unless I got the fabric on uber-clearance. We have alot of improvements to make on this house, and a certain amount of money we socked away for it. So spending a bunch on curtains when we have some that will do and are practically new seems not the wisest. I think we'll wait and budget for that later. They do look kind of pinkish, and consequently almost make the walls look greenish - but they did look a little better in the natural morning light today. /sigh. What do you think?

So anyhow. That's where we are at. Over the next week we'll be painting the baseboard, touching up the spots around the windows, hanging the rest of the curtains, and painting the rest of the trim. I'm tempted to leave the mantle as is, as it will be a BITCH to prep and paint properly. Oh and we simply MUST hang the pot rack in the kitchen! I'm tired of it sitting next to my desk.
On a completely different subject, why is it that I'm the only one that complains about the user interface of blogspot? I mean, it's a total f'n bitch to upload pictures on this thing. They all go to the top and you have to drag them where you want them - and then by the time you are done, there are huge gaps everywhere. When you try to delete the spaces between the paragraphs etc, then if you hit backspace one too many times...*bam* your picture is gone and you have to start over. Then after you publish the post it doesn't even look like what you expected. I HATE it. It's why I don't post pictures more often. Perhaps I'm missing something, some trick or tool - as no one else seems to complain. But whatever. Maybe I'll just start writing the posts on the HTML tab, because that might work better.
Bah. Time for working...and stuff.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I <3 Long Weekends

Three cheers for Dr. King...huzzah! (And not just for my Monday off, of course) I actually have some non-house related plans. Dinner with friends and a trip to Sacramento for a fun gaming session. Yay! Well, there's some house stuff in there too...naturally. DH and I plan to go to Home Depot tonight to buy the baseboard for our living room. He bought a miter saw yesterday, he's so stoked! It's a scary looking piece of machinery. I really should get over my whole fear of saws thing...but I just can't stand them. Handling blades of any type - even little scissors - gives me morbid visions....saws being the worst. Ugh.

*Anyways* the saw will help greatly with the baseboard project, and it's big enough to cut 4x4's even which will help when we do the yard projects, like a shade cover for the patio. But I'm getting ahead of myself. For this weekend the list is simple:
  • Baseboard (measure, cut, install, paint)
  • paint trim (leaving the doors and mantle for last)
  • shop for light fixture, tiles for the entry floor, and doorknobs
  • Prep entry way for painting
  • Move piano into new spot

Short and sweet. Though that baseboard will be a bitch. Luckilly hubby deals with that! I'm so lucky to have such a handy husband! Oh and maybe, just maybe, if we have the time I'll have to drag him to Urban Ore. Urban Ore is a great place, great for recycled building supplies. It also has a huge warehouse which feels to me like a cross between a flea market and an antique store. DH will *love* it. In fact, I'm gonna email him right now saying we should go tomorrow morning!!

Okay, I'm back. On a last note before I go, I didn't stay long at the Bistro last night. I was just too cold and sleepy. But I did make progress on the blanket, even though I had to rip out 6 rows to get to a very obvious mistake. (This is where I can insert Gypsy Junk's lecture about how much easier it is to fix mistakes when knitting and about how crochet is totally lame except for the occassional edging). But long story short, I have exactly 6 rows left of shells and 5 rows left of single crochet and the blanket is done other then the edging. The other progress was that I figured out what the mistake was that I was making that was causing my count to be off for the last 12 rows or so. I'd explain, but it would make the 2 people who read this blog totally yawn with boredom and one of them has already sat and listened to the explanation with a glazed-crocheting-is-lame face anyhow. ;b

Suffice it to say, I will be starting my rug project soon!

Happy Friday to all. This weekend I will DL some pictures, I swear!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I think I'll dip some warm biscotti in my coffee...

The paint, the paint! At long last the color is actually on the walls. Boy is painting hard work. My neck and shoulders (and consequently my head) are aching big time. But my toil is paying off, for as of last night for the first time the living/dining room looks new. It needs a second coat badly, but that will happen tonight. *rubs shoulders* /sigh. It's worth it though. The color is "warm biscotti" and I like it. I think I've mentioned before that we enjoyed the warmth of the wall color in our last living room (at the rental house) so we tried to copy it, and I think we hit the mark. The only problem I foresee is the curtains, which were a nice beige color. But now held up against the new wall color they take on a pinkish hue which just isn't good. But new curtains are not difficult to come by. I'll start window shopping ASAP just in case! I'm almost concerned about the same pinkishness from the carpet, which afterall the curtains were obviously matched to. But that's not so easilly replaced, and I think that our rugs and furniture will distract from that. Or...we'll just get used to it.

The new furniture set up will work, we kind of tested it out while moving things around for the painting. It will get the couch off the walls (according to HGTV, having all your furniture against the walls is one of the most common decorating mistakes), away from the cold window and closer to the fireplace. BTW, the fireplace now stands out beautifully against the darker wall color...can anyone say "focal point"? Also it creates an actual dining room and a cozy nook behind the couch for my oft-neglected piano. I do have a camera full of photos for you, and I shall DL them soon.

On the subject of accross the street neighbors are Vivian and Lee - a lovely older couple from China. It turns out they were both piano virtuosos back in ye old county (I heard from my other chatty neighbor) and they offer piano lessons! Now, it may seem silly for someone who has 11 years of formal piano lessons under her belt to want to take more lessons. But I am truly almost 15 years out of practice. My fingers know a handful of songs by heart that serve only to prove to an ignorant ear that Mary knows how to play the piano. But a few bars into each song, those fingers turn to silly putty and my mind draws a blank. Put sheet music in front of me that once would have been read by sight, and I struggle through like a right handed person trying to draw with their left hand. So yes, I'm toying with the idea of taking a refresher course, mostly to encourage me to practice daily and have some guidance.

On the subject of classes, Gypsy Junk has mentioned a few times now belly dancing and yoga classes. Now belly dancing lessons is something I've been meaning to try for *years*...ever since my first rennaissance fair back in '92. But I've just never gotten around to it. A couple of my friends including the rogue non-poster (:p) Seamstrix Art have taken classes and really enjoyed them. So perhaps perhaps...we'll give it a try some time. The yoga would probably do a world of good for my pain problems, but that class is on Thursdays, and I'm not ready to forego the weekly stitch and bitch.

Ah, a perfect segway (sp?) into another next crochet project! I do believe I'll finish Sophia's blankie very soon. I think that the rows will be done this Thursday, and I can do the edging over the weekend (who am I kidding) or next Thursday. For a xmas present to myself I bought Crochet Me, which by the way I'm totally pissed off to see it's on sale now. There is a pattern in there for a cute litte rug made out of circles. I like circles! It's kind of modern looking and I think it will juxtapose nicely against the slightly more old fashioned look of our living room as an entry way rug. I need to select my colors, and I think I'll do it in acrylic (*gasp*) yarn, as because of the doggies, it will need to be thrown in the washer on a regular basis.

Oh my, I've spent the last 32 minutes on this stupid post. I suppose I'd best get back to work before big brother flags blogspot as an offender. Until next time.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Yes! to progress... to pictures! I really am so lazy about downloading/uploading my pics. I must get better at it. Shall I add that to my list of resolutions? Oh please. I've already blown them and the year is only 7 days gone. Well maybe not *blown*, but I certainly have been lazy.

But let's focus on the positive, shall we? We *did* make progress over the weekend. Hubby fixed the leaky roof, and his roofer friend came over to survey the work and said that he couldn't have done better himself. Good boy! I finished the pantry door. Really, all that is left to be done to the kitchen is to oil the cutting board and paint the door going into the garage - and neither of those are pressing. It's pretty much done!

I'm completely done patching cracks and holes in the living/dining room and about 2/3 of the way done with sanding of those patches. My arm about fell off on Sunday and finally I let it rest for a bit. I figure on finishing the sanding tonight or tomorrow night. Then I must wash the walls with TSP, then I must tape. I picked up all the paint. I think I bought more then I need. But the trim and ceiling paint I can use the left overs in the other rooms. The wall paint we had custom mixed because the color didn't exist at Kelly Moore. So I didn't want to run out. Plus we'll have to do lots of touch ups after the windows get replaced. The color match turned out beautiful! I'm very pleased, even though I haven't seen it on the walls yet. I just know it will look nice.

So I am on track for my goal of finishing the painting by the end of next weekend! And still I found plenty of time to reach max level on my main WoW character. It's all about priorities. :b


Friday, January 4, 2008

Here comes the rain again...

And thankfully so, as we need the water. Two dry winters in a row would have been icky. I don't care for the "if it's yellow let it mellow" thing that happens when we have our occasional Mediterranean climate drought happenings. The bad thing about the rain is no walking or frolicking outdoors. The good thing, is plenty of time for reading, playing video games, and painting!!

I have no pictures for you today, but I do plan on starting to paint the living room and dining room this weekend. Or at least some serious prep work done! There are many cracks that need sanding and filling. My goal is to have the painting done before the end of next weekend. I know, not a lofty goal. But I'm trying to learn to be realistic. I'm not those folks on HGTV (I love HGTV!) who manage to paint and decorate a room in a single day. I, unlike their painting experts, need to tape everything...especially considering we are painting the ceiling white, which means taping along the wall/ceiling joint. Not to mention, it is the weekend and I need at least some time to play WoW. After all i need to hit level 69, and it would give me great pleasure to level up before my pal that I play with. If I could hit max level before him, he'd be steamed! :D

But I digress. We have chosen a warm biscotti brown color for the walls. Our last house had this color in the living/dining room and we, surprisingly, really liked it. Much darker then I would have thought to choose for a great room area. White ceilings, trim and doors. DH will be installing new baseboards as well. We also plan on reorganizing the furniture to a different set up that will hopefully make for better conversation, closer TV viewing and being able to actually use the dining room for a dining room table, rather then as rarely-used piano room. I'll let you know how it goes. Did I mention that I should play the piano more? I guess not. Add that to my list of new year's resolutions (again, for like the 10th year in a row).

On a kitchen note, we have mounted the pantry door, and sanded the cutting board. So some painting and oiling are in order, along with the pot rack and transformer for the doorbell, for this weekend.

Uh oh! Hubby just called and informed me that the roof is seriously leaking in the garage. BUMMER! At least it is in the garage and not the house! I'm confident that he can fix it. He's very handy. However he's very bummed as well. Did I mention his truck is leaking and the fridge is leaking as well? Leaky Leaky day.

I'll post progress, should I make any. Happy Friday

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy Mo Fo New Year

Another year, come and gone! I've got to say that 2007 was a good year. We went to Ireland (*sigh* I wish we were there again) and we bought a house. Those are decent things to have done ;)

And now for another year. What will this one bring? Lots of home repair likely lol, maybe another trip. We are talking about New York and Boston. We're not sure if we'll have enough dough what with all the repairs we'd like to make on the house in the next 6 months. But it would be nice and I might have to say "fuck it" and plan the trip. Some other alternatives I've been thinking of would be a trip north to Seattle and British Columbia OR a road trip to Arizona and Utah-ish area. DH has never seen the canyons there and I think he's missing out. I do have the travel itch again already so we'll have to do *something*!

How about some resolutions? Yeah, I know. Resolutions are stupid and all anyone ever does is break them. Last year I had a mantra instead of a resolution and it was gone from my mind before MLK day. But wtf here are my resolutions for this year...pretty typical, but just the same:
  • eat healthier
  • cook more
  • drink more water
  • walk/jog more
  • do more arts and crafts (drawing, sewing, crocheting in particular)
  • learn to knit

And then there is the house...of course. What I'd like to see done this year on the house:

  • Fresh paint, inside and out
  • New light fixtures
  • New windows (hopefully we'll get a big enough tax refund to fund this one)
  • New garage door
  • Hardscape in back yard (shade cover, new retaining wall, raised beds, fence to dog run)

Now ask DH, and you'd probably get a different list. But that's my list so there you have it. And now, in my sadness, I must return to work. I have many emails to read and meetings to set up.

I lift my coffee cup to you...