this and that

I’m once again waiting on the world to change pictures to be edited to finish up a couple of post for the blog here but instead I just decided to write.

Because I’m a writer. It’s how I communicate best and win the most arguments with myself.

I am slowly downsizing in the house and need to make another trip to a) the dump and b) Goodwill this month before my next out of town trip. I also have 6 or 7 packages of gifts to send from my last out of town trip that still need to be wrapped, labelled and taken to the Post Office. Details, details.

I’m also trying to narrow down which prints from my vacation will make it onto canvases. So many to choose from.

mexico sunrise

Wilson has been sick lately so after an expensive vet visit I’m keep a close eye on him and seeing if he’ll need on-going medication. Surprisingly Jackson has been the naughty one, deciding to bite a hole in the back of my new couch cushion this week. My dogs are naughty.

Maybe this was all to remind me that I can’t have a new puppy because oh I really, really want one. The litter out at the farm is just too damn cute for words. And snuggly.

new puppy

Slowly I’m tackling all the paper piles around the house – something we like to call “shitepiles” on the organizing thread I participate in. Mine tend to be 90% junk mail, coupons and bills. Oh and now a survey from the government I’m somehow legally obligated to complete and mail in which I find to be ridiculous.

What else is going on… oh somehow and someway moths are invading the house. I am trying to find where they’re originating from (an old book? sweater? pillow?) and so I’m slowly killing them when they appear. And because I read that it helps, I bought a pound of dried lavender and put it in tiny sachets to hang around the house. At least I like the smell of lavender.

Right now I can’t take any pictures in the house because every room has been thrown into chaos from my recent project (I know, what’s new?) but I am slightly in love with how the garage is looking these days. I picked up some supports for hanging the next set of pegboards in my makeshift workbench area so maybe before May rolls around I’ll be able to hang that on the wall.

Any work in the garage is pretty much limited to the weekend since the new car takes up so much room… wait, I didn’t post about that here. Well, here she is:

new car

Tentative name is “big red” because this car is a beast. 19 feet long, 12 mpg, electric windows, top and front seat. There’s a slight issue with the gear box and the radio doesn’t want to work but I’m looking to get those fixed up soon. The leather seats also need conditioning and I’m shopping for new tires.

Anywho, I had to rearrange the garage because the space is only 20 feet long which means I couldn’t put any furniture along the shared wall with the house and then had to hang a tennis ball on a string so I don’t pull in too far and hit the drywall (again).

But although I never knew it should be my goal to own a classic convertible in California, I highly recommend it!

Okay, what else is happening…

I think that’s it for now, I continue to hold out hope that this little dude could come live with me because hello, cuteness.

new puppy 2

Simple Office Clean Up

As usual I have a bunch of projects to update but today I decided to tackle my office for 15 minutes because it was getting out of hand and impeding my ability to concentrate.

Before I show you the “before” pics keep in mind that I’m just back from vacation where I picked up a bug and spent most of the last 2 days pathetically attempting to work in the comfy chair in my office.  You know this is a true before because I didn’t even close the desk drawer hanging open.

 

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That’s my comfy chair with the desk chair serving as a foot rest because the dogs insist on sitting ON me at all times. Also they’ve dragged in some blankets to “nest” in the closet.

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My plant here looks like it’s dying and is dropping leaves all over the place. Classy. Also there’s a huge stack of files, notebooks and binders on the bookshelf that I didn’t have a chance to put away properly before going on vacation.

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In the closet the old curtains hung up on the clothing rod, there’s a mess of dog blankets and a bunch of boxes I need to go through.

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Armed with a timer set to 15 minutes I started working, putting things away in different rooms and quickly coming back to work in the office.

If you’ve ever done this do you find that you become really compelled to clean other spaces? I so want to tackle the bedroom next but gah, work still to be done in the office!

Here’s the “after” – the biggest difference was taking out the plant for some pruning and closing the closet curtains. Still haven’t cleaned up that wall shelf yet though.

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The pile of files is much smaller but I was in the midst of sorting them when the timer went off. I do find it convenient to have my tape, post its, pens and pencils easily accessible like this. And those boxes and bins are super easy to keep things organized.

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This is the best chair in the morning even if the back gets smooshed by Nixon sitting on it all the time. If I were a proper blogger then I would have turned on the overhead reading lamp and staged it with a throw blanket or something.

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Desk got a little cleaner and I cannot wait to replace my computer so I can have a better system for all those necessary (but annoying) cords:

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Last shot of the closet and my new curtains from Ikea (where else?!). The green bin has files I’m archiving so it needs to stay accessible until I finish sorting through files on my desk. I still need to decide what’s going to hang in that spot between the doors but all of my pictures are revolving throughout the house constantly so I’ll find something soon I’m sure.

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There you have it, my slightly updated office, cleaned and not at all staged for the blog. Now that I’m done with that project I really want to go do another room. I might just power clean the house but who knows if I’ll blog about it. Because 15 minutes of cleaning + 30 minutes putting together a blog post is a little weird. Especially when I have that stack of papers to go through!

 

Another Productive Weekend

It feels like ages since I had a nice, productive, work filled weekend of getting projects caught up around the house.

Since I have hundreds of updates and zero time to refresh my pages or blog about them this will be a long catch up post.

Here are the distinct things that got done this weekend:

  • finished trim work in the bathroom
  • removed the giant frog
  • installed baseboards in closets
  • mounted the flat screen on the wall

Here are my updates room by room.

In the kitchen we took down the florescent light and had Toby install 4 can lights. The spot that remained was patched and needs to be painted.

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In the dining nook I swapped out my taller bar size table for a shorter one with new chairs and have been adding my favorite Instagram prints on canvases:

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The new couch in the living room has been so nice – I’m loving how much space it provides!

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The dresser that I sanded down was re-organized and we moved the TV up to a wall mount to create more space.

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After 6 years of staring at this ugly frog ceramic piece it was easily pried off the wall with a crowbar. Then the wall behind was patched and needs to painted next.

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Also in the main bath the faucet was replaced awhile back with a nice, new chrome one,

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The hall closet was painted in stripes using up a lot of my oops paint. I took out the little carpet square and installed tiles to match the bathroom floors. The top was painted white and I installed some baseboards and caulked the edges.

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The office has had the most changes recently, I gave away the file cabinet I got several months ago (long story) and I moved the Expedit for storage.

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Someone was selling an overstuffed chair and it fits next to my desk (new cover is on its way) and gets great morning sun:

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Oh, and I hung these cool bamboo shades in the office:

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Not sure that I ever showed the shelves I installed in the closet but they’re the perfect hideaway for my portable files:

2014-03-01 (04)On to the guest room!

In here the closet finally got baseboards,

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and am now organizing stuff from the closet,

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Master bedroom is next and the TV I bought back in November was almost ready to be mounted when we realized 2 washers, a bolt was missing and didn’t get it mounted. As soon as I get those parts it’ll get finished!

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Finally, in the Master bathroom we yanked out the toilet and sink, installed baseboard trim, chair rail and then the bead board in sections. Dad did the measurements including cutting out sections to fit around the pipes.

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I still need to reinstall the baseboard on the left and then add an inside corner trim piece.

I still need to install a new mirror and sell the old one.

Next up: one new light inside and a few for the garage plus outlets galore.

Little updates

I have approximately 250 updates around the house to share and wow, do I have zero time to clean, photograph and post them on the blog.

It’s January 21st and it feels like it should be July. Or 2017 already.

Time is going faster and faster and since I’ve yet to achieve time freezing powers I just work with what I’ve got.

I told you about my new sofa – well I finally got the replacement parts so the chaise doesn’t collapse sideways. I’ll have a full review someday.

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I did take down all the Christmas decorations. Eventually.

I’ve also been working in the garage, deciding how I can maximize space and make room for a new car. Just as soon as the old sofa is moved out I’ll be moving around all kinds of stuff to build a new workbench and storage.

I started with a pegboard by the backdoor which I painted Vintage Velvet blue:

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I also added some supports (so the pegboard hooks have room to hook)

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and done:

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Better pictures coming… later.

My kitchen also smells wonderful – thanks to 13 pounds of lemons I picked in Arbuckle and then juiced. I now have frozen lemon cubes and a carafe of juice for my tea.

photo 4In my office I recently added a file cabinet which, as soon as I fix the drawer slide, I’ll have to share that soon. It’s been quite an endeavor to fix.

Why I stopped reading your blog

Recently I was talking (i.e. ranting) to a friend about what’s wrong in the blogging world and thought it would make a great topic here.

Understand that this is heavily influenced by my own view of blogging because this site does not bring me income and has never been designed to make me famous, get sponsorships or support my lifestyle.

Which is why the selling out of blogs, specifically DIY and decorating ones, makes me ill. And as I recently cleared out my bookmarked folder of sites I made notes about the reasons I’m so disenfranchised with blogs lately.

Reason #1 Amateurs pretending to be professionals

Sometimes this is simple, in the form of bloggers who don’t proofread and make numerous, obvious errors in their writing. I’ve never claimed to be a grammatically correct fiend but when I publish for professional sites, every piece is edited by an expert.

Another symptom of this is the bloggers who disappear for weeks or months at a time because they’re “just not feeling it” anymore. Fine, whatever, if you’re not making this a professional endeavor. But for the rest of the blogs, do you really think a client or boss would allow you to just stop working because you weren’t happy doing your job?

Reason #2 Habitual racism, homophobia or discrimination

This one is a little harder because very few sites are blatantly discriminatory anymore. But it’s there and subtle and when it’s not just a single incident but perpetual then I just can’t. I can’t support bloggers who use their platform for exclusion and hatred.

For an example of my personal philosophy, there’s a bumper sticker I saw probably 10 years ago that had such a great message of understanding : “Straight, not narrow” and I love it. Because you don’t have to be a member of a community to extend graciousness and support.

Reason #3 Over sponsorship

Some sponsorships are just ridiculous. I don’t want to read about your super hard life as a stay at home mom in the most privileged nation in the world and how Sponsor’s pain pills helps you through your super hard days.

I’m sick of reading about how your recent remodel was “so affordable” or how you “splurged” on professional installation and then, wayyyyy at the bottom of the post is sponsored by in small print.

And “all opinions are my own”  is just b.s. in my opinion because you can’t serve 2 masters. I’ve yet to find a blog that is authentic to its audience and simultaneously serving the needs of sponsors. It’s completely disingenuous to say “I’d buy this anyway!” because you didn’t. It was given to you.

I’ve seen this on everything from vacuum cleaners, mattresses, clothes and cars. Yes, vehicles worth over $30,000. Again: b.s.

It extends to giveaways as well, promoting flash sales or “curating a collection” and not divulging that when your readers click to buy you get a substantial kick back in the way of money or credits.

Reason #4 You’re boring

I shared this on Facebook recently but in any given year I can predict the subjects of articles all year long. Everything from resolutions in January, love your ____ (fill in the blank) in February, surviving Daylight Savings Time, blah, blah, blah.

It’s boring. Uninspiring. Tedious.

It’s one of the reasons I haven’t been blogging as much myself because when I fall into those traps I can’t stand to hit publish.

A subset of this is the blogger who perpetually does and redoes the same project over and over. Listen, I have decorating ADD sometimes too. I hang a picture and then want to move it pretty much the next day. But I really don’t want to read about how you’ve changed your kitchen island 47 times or how this basket used to be in the garage and then the toy room and now the living room! as if it’s some critically important aspect of life.

Reason #5 You’re weak on the details

This is specific to DIY blogging but if you post a project with no details then I’m unfollowing. If you post a “big reveal” and don’t share sources then I’m unfollowing. Inspiration is everywhere and Pinterest is a goldmine. But if you don’t provide the how or the where or the price then what good is inspiration? It’s a rabbit hole of research to find the answers and I’ve got enough to do, thanks.

Now, I understand that when something is secondhand or a gift or was purchased so long ago you don’t know where it came from those questions are hard to answer. But anticipate the inquiry and address it in the post, not in the comments, not in a follow up post “to come” months or years later.

Reason #6 Your site is obnoxious to navigate

Obviously I include sites that look like cutting edge 1998 design, with too busy backgrounds or flashing ads, popups and 170 sidebar boxes. But also sites that are planned intentionally to be annoying to the reader.

Here are my real pet peeves:

  • sites that have 1-2 posts per page and 3,948 pages of blog posts.
  • sites that when you click “next” reopen in a new tab. Stop. that. now.
  • sites that have truncated posts so you have to “read more” and never take you back to where you were reading so you’re always scrolling around.

You know what these are? Tricks to increase page views and time on the site. And they’re foolish. Because more often than not I’ll just leave forever.

And so that’s what I’ve done on a large scale. I’m not interested in individually messaging bloggers about their sites, I’m just not investing my time anymore.

There are a precious few that I’ll follow and even more on my “last chance” list but since the beginning of the year I’ve removed at least 50% of the blogs I used to read for the reasons above.

“Getting Organized” is boring

Let’s face it, the process of getting organized is kinda boring. Paper cuts and shredding and making decisions is just blahhhh.

Which is why reading about organizing is so much more fun. You don’t have to get your hands dirty. Or make any effort whatsoever.

So I have a love/hate relationship with organizing posts because yes, they’re inspiring but also the crazy side of my brain takes over and I think that I need to read a whole book, the entire series, the finished space before I can begin myself. My brain thinks I need to figure out where they got everything, create a new board on Pinterest, and it just spirals.

Maybe you can relate.

So instead of sharing my own step by step organizing process (which I don’t actually have) I’m just going to work on my own space.

Along the way I might share some posts but only to hold myself accountable.

This year I’ve set the goal to declutter, donate or consign 1,000 items. After letting go of 1270 items last year, I’m lowering my goal a little in consideration of what I’ve already done.

I could probably accomplish that goal in 2 days if I counted individual papers or emails but instead I count a full paper bag of shredded papers as one item.

Here’s what I’m working on this month:

  • picture frames
  • filing in the office
  • gardening pots and containers
  • flower vases
  • owners and operation manuals

Blog more, worry less

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I like blogging and how to get back in the habit this year. I’m not going to make any grand promises and I don’t care at all about sponsorships, ad revenue or subscriber counts.

I blog because writing is how I express myself. 

I blog because it’s a more permanent record than the dozens of faded journals cluttering up my office.

I don’t blog because I want to become famous, make lots of money or have “fans.”

No offense if you are a fan, I’m just not doing this blog to cater to the masses who would likely judge and criticize my every choice.

What I think helped is realizing what I like to read on blogs is different than what I like to write on my own. I’m not one for photoshopped vignettes of cookies and a sprig of mint or the most perfectly displayed holiday table.

I don’t have cute kids that pose for the camera or travel to new countries every few weeks.

Most of the drafts (uh… 21 of them) are just waiting for photos which tells me I need to be okay writing without pictures more often.

The dominance of Pinterest has created this stress of getting the right picture in perfect light and that’s just not realistic.

One project I do want to complete is to re-launch my home pages with new pictures since every single room was painted in the last 12 months. It’s challenging to a) deal with lingering piles of paper or clutter, b) get everything sparkly clean and c) keep it that way for 24 hours so I can photograph, edit and re-take if needed for a single page. Multiply that times 10 “spaces” and the yard and you can see why these things take me forever.

So unless it’s a really photo necessary post, I’ll probably be just writing more. Like now.

And before I get distracted by the internet or the dogs or something else entirely, I will just hit post.