Coming Soon

So I’ve been too busy working on projects to blog about them which is both a blessing and a curse. See, now I have 1000 photos to label, sort, edit and upload and no time to do it!

In lieu of a photo filled post today, here’s a quick list of some of the projects I’ve been tackling in January so far:

  • finishing the guest room ceiling
  • rearranging the guest room furniture and artwork
  • staining the Ikea wood chest
  • finishing up the bench frame for outdoors
  • repairing the foot chest in the living room
  • painting the bathroom ceiling
  • painting and finishing the bathroom cabinets with vinyl and more organization

One of my friends asked how I could get so much accomplished in short periods of time and here’s what I’ve discovered:

Everyone has the capacity for productivity under the right motivation. I happen to be really motivated to finish these projects and find please in completing them. Because I’m a systems expert and I do figure out projects all day long for fun and money, it’s easier for me to break down a project into steps.

It’s not uncommon for me to grab a caulking gun, plastic bag, newspaper, paint tray and water bottle and head for a section of baseboard that needs to be cleaned and sealed. In my head I can see that I should put the plastic bag over the paint tray and rest my caulking gun on it so if there’s any leaks it doesn’t make a mess. Once the caulk is on the board I spray my fingers with the water and run it along the seam, using the newspaper to clean my hands.

In my head that makes sense, I think of that while doing the dishes or working on a client file. Hours later it’s easy enough to execute while most people would get stuck with messy hands and no way to clean up.

The projects I’m working on are not, in all reality, that difficult to learn but they do take time and focus which I have in spades since I don’t watch TV, read the newspaper, go out often to drink, have school, or spawn to take care of – I try to make the most of these circumstances because I’m motivated to do so.

And I will have picture tutorials up soon. Just as soon as the paint dries.

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Monthly Day Off

Today is 28 1/4th birthday which is only significant when you take into account it’s my monthly day off. Each month on the 14th I give myself a day to do absolutely nothing or adventure someplace new just for fun.

It’s a far cry from the years I spent working 4 jobs with a day off every six weeks or so! I love this plan because quite often the days sneak up on me, especially lately when it’s cold out and I don’t feel much like adventuring.

This month was no different, I noticed it on my calendar on Friday and thought “huh. Wonder what I’ll end up doing Monday?” Since I have no calls scheduled I thought the day would begin by sleeping until noonish.

Nope.

I was actually awake and working at 6am, which if you know me at all you understand is quite a rarity. Now, 3 hours later, the dogs have had their breakfast and are snoozing happily. I’m in the living room because the couch has better lumbar support for my back this morning and Nixon and Wilson are sleeping next to me. Jackson is lying here on the guest room mattress watching me ever so carefully for any sign of movement.

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I started the morning by signing a new client contract, this one a very exciting opportunity to work and travel to China this spring. Then I continued to work on a launch for another new client, adding in some elements that I had been dreaming about when I woke up at 5:45. Something I’m still working on.

Being up so early was only inconvenient because I had to wait on some people to wake up and talk to me – having so much going on early in the morning was stimulating enough that I didn’t even pour my coffee until just now.

Aside from the work tasks that inevitably creep in when I’m working on my laptop, I know today I’ll go to the mall and get my laptop looked at (let’s all pray it’s something cheap and easy to fix!). Maybe I’ll start scouting for a new suitcase because mine are so, so falling apart.

One thing that I really appreciate about today’s day off is that I can do whatever I want, even working, and that is a blessing in itself.

So I might finish some projects in the guest room (the reason why the bed is hanging out in the living room), check out a few books at the library, list movies for trade-in on Amazon, or just end up relaxing and working as I feel like it.

To quote William Wallace: Freeeeeeeeeedom!

Decorating ADD

As I’m writing this the guest room ceiling is about 75% sanded and ready for paint. Well, if I have to do much more patching then it’s 60% ready and still by Sunday night I should be done with the prep and paint and touch up.

So I’m typing whilst covered, head to toe, in dust. It’s disgusting. Every few trips up and down the step ladder I have to go wash my hands because they feel so, so gross. Dry. I’m also getting pressure points on my fingers from the sanding wedge, which is nothing compared to the numbness I had scraping this ceiling a few years back because the scraper thing was so rough I feared nerve damage on my thumb.

I took a blog break and realized that there’s a real thing that annoys me when I read other blogs and that’s decorating ADD.

While I might take a few years to finish a project due to overwhelm or needing a room to be functional instead of done, and am slowly learning this stuff as I go, it’s the idea of re-doing something several times that drives me nuts.

I get it, it’s decorating. It’s fun and some people love it so much they’d repaint a dresser every month just for shits and giggles.

But holy crackers and cheese, people. Do you not look back at your house and archives and plans and think “well I changed this bathroom six times so far but it’s the seventh remodel that will really make me happy!” Do you ever write these new posts about re-re-re-re-doing the kitchen island and wonder if you’re insane or just bored?

It’s probably just me being cranky about being absolutely covered in dust and appearing like a dragon when I sneeze but I just want to shake some bloggers and say “don’t you have anything else important to do with your life other than remodeling that same space again?!”

Yes, I’m crazy and judgmental, I’ve never denied that.

Maybe it’s because I’ve always worked while in this house, in the beginning 4 or 7 jobs, now just one business with a ton of clients and work. But 4 years after moving in I’m still working on the basic stuff like baseboards and vent covers.

Anyway, all that whining to say that I’m still not done prepping the ceiling (and don’t want to think about the living room right now) but I know what I’ll look like as an old, gray haired lady:

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Oh, and I’m going to need a scrubbing shower before I go pick up the paint because my nose looks like I’m a cocaine fiend.

Anyone else get decorating ADD? Or simply annoyed by it like I do?

Bathroom Cabinet Makeover

This weekend I tackled one of my smaller projects from this list and it was much easier than I anticipated! This has been on my mental to do list since I took my hideously pink cabinets to white on the outside a few years back. I started with the main cabinet under the sink.

It’s a relatively quick and easy process so here’s the step by step!

1. Remove everything from the cabinet (this one has all my cleaning supplies) and wipe it down. You’ll be amazed at what you find hiding in the back of cabinets. Start by throwing away any obvious trash and then sort the rest.

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2. Paint the sides and back of the cabinet using some oops paint from Home Depot – my quart was $2 and I picked it up months ago. This is typically paint that they mix up and then the customer decides is the wrong shade. If you’re looking for paint the best time to search is Monday or Tuesday – especially after a holiday weekend.

The paint I used isn’t labeled so let’s just call it bathroom beige from Behr and it worked really well with 2 coats to cover smoothly. While the paint dried overnight I picked up new MDF for the cabinet floor which was pretty well warped from an old sink leak.

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3. Build a new floor. Because my cabinet was 20″ x 34″ I chose to have two boards of equal size cut so they would fit easier. Imagine trying to put in a single board at a diagonal with the drain pipes in the way.

Home Depot will cut the board you buy into any size you choose (and yes you get to keep the leftover bits) for free so for just $5.47 I got my two boards and some spare pieces.

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After making sure the boards fit first, I picked up some vinyl self stick to protect the new MDF and make it look sleek. I bought 2 rolls for $2.75 each before I used a $5 off coupon for my whole order.

It was hard at first to line up the two designs but totally worth the effort! And since it’s super cheap and simple you can always remove the vinyl and replace or paint over the MDF or just get new boards completely.

MDF under bathroom sink

The MDF I chose was 1/4 inch so it doesn’t drastically change the area of the cabinet either.

4. Reorganize and restock the cabinet. I have a TON of cleaning supplies and many of them are multiples of the same cleaner. It’s not safe to combine different ones because they can create toxic gases but when we’re talking about Fabreeze mix away!

Everything came back into the cabinet with just a few exceptions

  • I put one spray bottle of Fabreeze in each bedroom and with the dryer
  • the CRL was moved under the kitchen sink with other heavy duty cleaners
  • 3 bottles of carpet cleaner for the steam vac went into the hall closet with the vacuum cleaners

Of course if you have some containers like I did that are practically gone use them up by cleaning something.

The baskets are from Dollar Tree and are some of my favorites! $1 each and they come in a variety of colors:

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5. Label! I don’t have a several hundred dollar cutting machine and let’s be honest, I think it’s pretty wasteful. But I do love labels so I just picked up some of my card stock and traced the labels for these baskets and tied them on with twine.

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6. Finishing Touches. If you’re really dedicated then you can also do the finishing on your cabinet hinges like I did – removing the cabinet doors and using my favorite ORB paint to take the hinges from brassy with a hint of old pink paint to classy. These doors don’t have door pulls either so they get dinged up faster than I’d like. I choose to sand them down and repaint with the white in a few places.

(pictures coming soon!)

There you have it! A quick and easy cabinet remodel that costs under $15 and made a huge impact. Next up I’ll be moving on to the other cabinets here and also lining them with the vinyl and doing some organization.

Under Sink Redo

Budget Breakdown

  • MDF: $5.47
  • Vinyl: $2.75 x 2 = $5.50
  • Paint: $2.00
  • Baskets: $2.00
  • Labels: free
  • Grand Total: $14.97

And I have plenty of vinyl and paint for the rest of the bathroom cabinets too!

Storing sheets without folding

Since finishing the hallway and office ceilings in November and reorganizing the office and living room furniture I was pretty sure that December would be a quiet month at home.

I honestly have no desire to travel and some days don’t even leave the house. Part of it is the crappy weather – it’s cold out there!

So here is the first of a few of the dozens of smaller projects I’ve finished up in the past few months.

Organizing sheets – this was the mess of sheets I had before:

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And they were folded, stuffed into bins, in the dresser I just got rid of and all over the place. Since I have two queen sized beds that’s the only size sheets I need so I dumped these out, matched them up and then decided to roll, not fold, the sheets. Why?

a) I hate trying to fold fitted sheets. It makes me feel like a t-rex giving a hug – completely inadequate.

b) I can never pull out just two sheets without all the others falling apart. It’s a pain in the ass. And since I usually wait until right before I fall asleep to put new sheets back on the bed the last thing I want to do at that moment is refold everything.

here’s the after:

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Nice, right? After matching them up I changed the sheets on both beds, washing the dirty pair (which had a ton of muddy dog paw prints) I put them all in these two bins. I folded the flat sheet and then rolled the fitted sheet in the middle. Each pack is secured with a big rubber band so they don’t fall apart.

I also got rid of that black set of sheets that was made for a Full Size bed. So those became drop cloths.

I put these sets in the closet of the guest room and since the boxes fit on the shelves I can easily take one down, pull out fresh sheets while the old ones get laundered and then pop the clean ones back in.

DSC_0234It’s a good project to get out of the way.

Next Project

So while I’ve been working on a lot of little projects around the house, I’m looking at the next big project to start on when I’ve finished revamping the swinging bench for the front of my house.

Here are the candidates.

This footchest:

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It was a gift several years back and Wilson decided to use it for a chew toy when he was a puppy so the edges are a bit rough. So I want to use food filler on the edges and a section in the back that cracked and broke off. Then comes sanding down the piece, painting it a crisp white and making a cool bench seat on top (my own version of a window seat).

Two of these chairs:

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These were also a gift when my aunt was moving and both have leather (or pleather) fabric that have been used as a scratching post by many a cat. So I’d love to recover them (because they’re actually really comfortable) and add a new base since the legs aren’t terribly stable. While I love one of the red ones in the master bedroom, I’m thinking of making them both black so they can work in multiple rooms.

This edging:

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In the backyard there’s an edge around the raised flower beds that is mostly falling apart. There’s a layer of brick that’s pretty messy and a one foot tall piece of wood that’s leaning over and not doing a whole lot.

So I’d like to create something like the edging above – most likely with the back bricks standing on edge somehow – and while I’m at it check the fence along the perimeter and make any repairs, lay down some weed block and add some more fill dirt. It’s a messy job but worthwhile to improve the backyard resale value.

These floors:

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The bathroom floors have the same, ugly tiles. They’re hideous. So with a wonderbar, some elbow grease and a bit of clean up I’d like to take out the current tiles and replace them with a darker tile like the one above. Something with a pattern is too easy to get dirty so one like this that I can stagger is perfect (I’m also considering running it through the hallway). It’s not super expensive, just lots of cuts and I have to make sure the subfloor is really, really clean so there are no bumps or cracks.

Bathroom cabinet 1:

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These cabinets hold a lot of junk and I don’t want them to always look like crap. In the main bathroom the plan is to take oops paint and go inside each section painting the back and sides and laying down vinyl on the floor to make any spills easy to clean up. I have 2 quarts of oops paint already (and it’s relatively cheap) so the only hard cost would be the vinyl.

Bathroom cabinet 2:

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In the second bathroom I have this cabinet which goes nicely into the wall and provides good storage. Same thing, want to paint inside. But I’m also thinking of updating the exterior of this one which would mean sanding and repainting the doors and frame. This is the bathroom that will get a new pedestal sink, open shelves for storage and possibly even beadboard on the walls leaving it crisp and white. The wood here doesn’t fit in.

So what will it be? I can’t start the ceiling in the guest room until guests leave in mid-January so until then… what project will it be?