I must be getting old

because recently I keep thinking about my 30th birthday (in a month – eek!) and the stuff on my mental wishlist is boring.

Like knives. I know, not exactly an exciting gift but all of my knives are hand me down, dull, pieces of crap. A nice set of knives? Swoon.

And that wireless key entry for my car. Or at this point just a car wash since I’m drought compliant which means my car is filthy.

Plus a lot of household stuff like hardwood flooring for the bedroom and crown molding. Did I mention new gutters?

My town also has ridiculously hard water. As in I need to flush out the Keurig every month because of deposits on the water reserve. So I’ve been considering a water softener system for the garage. That’s totally an appropriate 30th bday present, right?

Home Depot has had stand alone cabinets and sinks on sale lately and I’m always tempted to throw one in the basket to replace the unit in the guest room. And if kitchen faucets were not $200 each I’d have replace the silver/gold/white combo in the kitchen.

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Summer Recap 2014 : Part 2 the Living Room

Okay, recap #2 is now recap #3 because it’s going to be a few more days until I get a piece of furniture delivered.

This summer saw a bunch of little changes in the living room so I wanted to recap them all in one place.  Starting at the front door I added the Lynas rug from Ikea. It’s the same look as the older one but just larger and only $5.


Then I replaced the door strike from this ugly, gunky, never could clean one, to a fresh new one. Yuck:


Did you notice that I got a new light switch? Of course not, unless you’re a stalker. It went from a single box to a double because I finally got the new living room light installed!

photo 2

It’s not only gorgeous but it throws off a ton of light and keeps a previously dark room nice and bright. It’s also on a dimmer so I can turn down the level from “surface of the sun” to “read without staining my eyes” and once more to “nifty nightlight.”

photo 3

Also this summer, I moved the white bookshelves out of the guest room, they’re now in dining room, flanking the kitchen table.


The dining nook has gone through a lot of changes but moving in these 2 bookshelves has been great. I think I was unconsciously relegating my books to the bedrooms because that’s where they lived when I was growing up. Bringing them out has been a giant “I own the whole house, bitches!” moment.


There’s a third bookcase in this set, but much smaller. It’s now under the window in the living room since I can’t put anything there that would enable the dogs to climb on the kitchen counter:


To the left of the bookshelf you can see the second wingback chair which has a completed makeover. I first removed the busted seat cover and replacing the zipper (well, Ana did the sewing!) and then restuffed the seat.


Then I went over it with the same Frosted Jade paint as I used in the guest room, mixed with fabric medium (more details on that in this post). You can see above that the side showing and seat need another layer of paint.

Behind the chair you can probably see the new curtains! The curtain rod is actually a 1/2″ copper pipe, cut to fit the window and secured to the ceiling drywall by 1″ electrical fittings. This allows the tabbed curtains to pull back and forth and the whole set up was $12 (not including the spray paint which I already owned).


I’ve kept the white Roman shade I made up for now but might change it out when the windows get replaced.

And I moved over the blue rug to anchor this little sitting area.

On the other side of the room I added a new shelf behind the couch which is perfect for drinks, remote controls and my charging station.


There’s a gap in the back to run wires and I may add another bracket to support the 8″ wide piece of common board (stained Jacobean). The wood was maybe $12? and 4 brackets were $16 from Ikea. Already had the stain on hand.

I also brought in the small shelf that I made for the master bathroom to see how I like it here holding blankets, heating pads and extra throw pillows:


And so far it’s working out well! I like to live with things for awhile to see how it fits so it might just move again.


There is one more big change coming to the living room but it’s likely a few weeks away. For now I’m enjoying the bright lights, new textured curtains and rugs and trying to keep this room clean and clear!


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Computer Free Productivity

Well, I’d hoped to add the second post about all my work done this summer but I’m still waiting on a furniture delivery.

So instead I thought I’d share what kind of things I did over the 4 days I was computer free while my Mac received a new hard drive.

First up I made a complete list of tasks that I could do without the use of my computer while I started working on transferring files to an external hard drive.

I replaced the door knob strikes behind a few doors since the old ones were gunky

photo 3 (1)I also replaced the doorbell with a new model but haven’t taken any pictures. Imagine a little white box and there you go.

Using my laminator and some wishi tape I finally made labels for the $1 storage bins in the garage:

photo 2My nightstands from the master bedroom got a new paint job after I picked up a quart of black glossy paint from Behr:

photo 3More on that in a later post. I also picked up some contact paper and lined the shelves in the master bath and used the clean slate as motivation to clear out a bunch of old stuff.

photo 1 (1)Awhile back I ordered 48 prints from my Instagram feed and bought a few canvases from Amazon. I paint the edges black to help disguise the seams when I modge podge the photos in place. These went up in the dining room:
photo 4 (1)And finally, after getting back the sewing machine, I hemmed the edges of these curtain panels and hung the wire kit from Ikea. While the bottom edges still need to be hemmed, I am already loving the curtains (and the privacy0:

photo 1But it wasn’t all work while the computer was in the shop, I took the little dogs to the beach on Friday:


Picture taken before I got really sunburned :) and the dogs were worn out and half asleep before we even left the parking lot.

photo 4This is barely half of the projects I tackled over the last week but as I continue to transfer files back to the computer I’ll work on uploading my pictures to share those soon.





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Summer Recap 2014 : Part 1 the Kitchen

Since I have so many house updates to share I thought I’d break this out into sections to make it easier to digest.

True story, I originally labeled these posts “Summer Recap 2015″ because that’s how tired I am after this summer.

I’m currently up to 4 posts but just might reach 5.  You might want to make yourself a cup of coffee.

In fact, I’m starting today in the kitchen which you probably remember like this:

2011_08_24 (11)While I love the red, red wine, after painting the living room Dolphin Fin gray I was ready for a change. Here’s what the kitchen looks like now:

2014-08-24 (14)One day I might repaint the kitchen cabinets but they’re holding up pretty well.

I started by cleaning off the counter tops and priming over the dark red.

Oh. My. God. I forgot how much I hate painting this room. It was the first one I did back upon closing in 2008 (because it was a god awful pinkish red) and I’d completely forgotten how these corners were so obnoxious.

Trying to take down the brackets? Horrible.

photo 2(1)Just horrible.

photo 1(2) I patched all the holes and wanted to start by caulking all the seams. Thankfully after priming the south wall the ants found a plant I re-potted (dear ants, that was not for you…) and were able to trace them back to their entry point. And then caulked the entire window including the hole. That combined with another layer of ant poison outside eliminated 90% of the problem.

Choosing the paint color was the most difficult piece but I already had a great color in the living room. When I was choosing that paint, I had a few other samples – one which ended up on the door to the garage.

2014 - dining room finalIt’s a custom color match from Sherwin Williams but I got a quart in eggshell from Behr. Here’s the first coat:

photo 3and final coat:

2014-08-24 (08)After getting the first coat on well, I touched up the edges and remembered again how much I hate this room.

There are no pictures of me working so let me paint one: it was August, 90 degrees with 50% humidity and I was balancing precariously on the counter top to reach into the corners.

Oh, and in full view of everyone coming and going because the shades were removed.

After the paint dried I reinstalled all the plate covers and shades. The brackets for the mini blinds stayed down though because I am designing a solution that you’re going to love.

Another view:

2014-08-24 (02)Here’s that horrible corner.

2014-08-24 (07)The plants on the top of the fridge are getting plenty of light and are easier to remember to water:

2014-08-24 (15)plus I finally have my Keurig hooked back up for morning coffee.

2014-08-24 (12)And while I need to pick up some supplies so I can get the windows covered, I’m glad that paint job is done. Except behind the fridge. At some point I’ll pull it out and paint behind but that can wait.

In the next edition of “what Kelly did this summer” I’ll share the other room I painted.

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August Updates

I read a post from another blogger recently that started with promising not to apologize for the length of time since the last post.

I like that.

Mostly because life has been moving like a bullet train this summer.

While I’m hoping to have a detailed, photo-heavy post for you around Labor Day here are some of the changes, big and small, happening around the casa.

California is a in a super drought. Like, no rainfall and yikes we’re running out of water drought. So predictably my lawn is drying up and even the flower bed out front is looking a bit pathetic.

This year I opted to skip the big flower bonanza that I usually fall into for that reason. While I’d like to get the replacement flower bed out front done before fall I’m not going to hold out hope.

Yet, the flowers behind the gate are thriving on active neglect and miniscule amounts of water.

Specifically the lantana which are taking over and going vertical (I’m shopping for some lattice now…) and a volunteer plant which took me a month to identify. Turns out I have a cantaloupe magically growing and 3 large melons almost ready to be harvested.

The guest room has a completely new look and I’ve moved around some furniture so you can enjoy the view of the backyard again (previously the bed blocked the window almost entirely). I have some furniture arriving soon to finish off this space and need to do some artwork on the wall but it’s looking really nice and I can’t wait to show it to you.

Also getting a makeover this summer is the kitchen, mostly due to the never ending ants that just won’t leave us alone. I’m working to seal up all their entry spots and remove anything that they want to eat which means the dining table is pretty full of stuff from the kitchen counters as I clean.

The ants also found my cough drops in the medicine boxes and I did a complete organization.

Adding to the chaos this month, the outdoor side by side fridge/freezer went out so I emptied it, cleaned out a bunch of bad food and gave it to someone who could recycle the parts. With that gone I had a bunch of shuffling to do in the garage and it looks so very different. I have so much room, in fact, the car is now parked inside which is heavenly on those hot summer afternoons when I need to run errands and the interior is no longer hotter than asphalt.

Of course I continue through it all to declutter, another 4 bags are going to Goodwill this week and I’ll soon make a pass through all the glass bottles and small containers I have outdoors. It’s constantly back and forth because while I am actively downsizing so are my parents so I’m also getting boxes of stuff from their house to decide how to store, donate or use.

So all of those updates and more are coming soon!

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Paint, paint and more paint

Looking over my home page recently I realized that I’d done a few paint projects and never updated the blog.

First up is the hallway which got a fresh coat of paint right after I finished turning the living room dolphin fin gray. The living room was the biggest transformation, going from a muddy light brown to pale, neutral gray.

DSC_0036The hallway flows from the entryway down to all 3 bedrooms, hall closet and main bathroom so it got the same Behr dolphin fin as the living room:

2014-07-05 (08)Getting around all those door frames was a challenge (6 total) and it highlighted that I need to do another coat of white on the frames and doors. Someday.

2014-07-05 (06)While I was painting the hallway I took out the old doorbell chime, which was broken and an eyesore.

Since I haven’t had time to replace it with a wireless model just yet I picked up a solid face plate and painted it gray to match. See if you can spot it:

2014-07-05 (05)It’s not as exciting as Where’s Waldo but here’s the clue:

2014-07-006Nice right?

I haven’t brought in too many picture frames just yet – I’m just working on narrowing down the collection. Currently all of those extra frames are in the hall closet which many months ago looked like this:

2011_08_13 (41)Classy.

So I painted it with some leftover oops paint in blue:

IMG_0776One more shot:

IMG_0777I also grabbed the spotlights that had been installed in my master bedroom and added them here, including an extension cord to the master bedroom outlet.

The top shelf used to hold the cleaning supplies and medicines but since we needed access to the crawl space for the light install I’ve kept it empty for now.

Additionally this year, the office got repainted and I detailed that in this post

DSC_0364As well as the living room walls in this post and the fireplace in this one.

DSC_0350You might be able to tell I’m going much lighter with my paint choices as I continue to downsize and organize the house.

What room do you think I’ll be painting next: guest room, master bedroom, kitchen or bathrooms?

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Project Overload

It can be really depressing to me to read other DIY and decor blogs.

For one, they almost all have seemingly unlimited time and energy and money to make over their huge homes and sprawling gardens.


Instead of getting cranky comparing progress, I just refocus on what I’m working on and what’s next.

Because although I work way more hours than normal in my business and have a teeny tiny budget for remodeling and decor, I’d still like to get some things done this decade.

Such as…

Finishing the velvet chairs – probably highest on my “let’s get this done” list right now, except finding the Paint Medium has been challenging. So I keep working on it one bottle at a time and I’m happy that the first chair is 80% done. Need to work a little more on the cushion (those edges are a pain to paint) and hopefully this one can be done before August. Especially since I’ve stolen the slip covered chair from the living room.

DSC_0303Sanding and painting outdoor tables – these were given to me by my parents and have yet to be finished. They go with the Adirondack chairs in the backyard so I might paint them the same blue… or stain them… or go white… you see what the problem is. Indecision. Oh and sanding the red stain turns my skin a nice red and when I sneeze it looks like blood. Nasty work. While the sander is out…

Sand and refinish the kitchen table

This has sadly become a necessity over the past few years. When I bought my kitchen table there was on side with deep gouges that I’ve sanded, patched with wood filler and sanded again. But it looks horrible (that side is always up against the wall) and there’s stains on the top from glue which don’t wash off.

So… that’s going to be fun.

Then, sand and refinish the foot chest

This was a piece of furniture I got years ago from my parents and Wilson, then a wee pup, nibbled on. It needs to be stripped down, sanded well and repainted, preferably white.

There’s really nothing standing in the way of doing it… just the will to drag it to the garage and work out there in 100 degree weather. Maybe I’ll work on that in the fall when things cool down a bit. Here’s a very old pic of it in the living room (pre-paint and fireplace makeover):

2012_11_24 (17)Attempt to plank the wall at the end of the hallway

Why? Because the texture on that section is all messed up and I think white planks would look really good. It’s a short space so I’m willing to give it a try.

What’s stopping me? Well, I don’t own a nail gun for one, and I need to price the planks and find out how much this will cost me. I want it to look like this:

WhitePlankWallOutside, yank down those gutters and put up new ones

I’m pretty sure one of these days I’m just going to go postal and pull down the gutters. Someday soon. They’re horrid and I can’t wait to get new ones in place. If I had some assistance my first task would be measuring the runs and pricing all my material since I’m going to be re-routing those down spouts into water barrels.

Major hold up: help installing and cash. They’re not going to be cheap and every summer I promise to get them replaced before Winter.

Paint the exterior

One of the things I loved about the house (way back when I bought it) was that it matched the other half-plex so it didn’t look mis-matched. Well, they went and painted a few years ago and now I’m looking forward to painting my side to match.

However, it would take a helleva lot of time on a ladder and I don’t even want to think about how much that much paint is going to cost. Would it be tacky to go one section at a time? I hope not…

2011_07_30 (03)Plant a tree

As you can see in the old pic above, I used to have a tree in the front yard. It died and was yanked but now I have just one – the sugar maple by the kitchen that’s already messing up my walkway with its growing roots.

So I’d like to plant two crepe myrtle trees in the front yard, just enough to shade the driveway in the morning and close enough together for a hammock if I were so inclined.

Now if only I had the tools to dig the holes and a truck to bring home a few saplings… this would be higher up on the list.

Finally, and most expensively, replace my windows

I only have 7 windows + the sliding glass door in the whole house. That’s it. And 3 of them are in the kitchen. So it won’t be too bad to replace these old fellas to new and energy friendly ones but it’s still expensive. As I replace them though, I’d like to get natural shades or wood blinds. The faux roman shades I made awhile back and nice for now but I would really like some classy looking ones.

Especially in the office because when the sun rises it is blinding!

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