I put the Pro in Procrastination

It feels like ages has passed since I shared in March about replacing windows and while it may feel like I’ve been lazy, I know a lot has actually been accomplished.

Primarily more windows. Over a weekend with some help I replaced 2 out of the 3 kitchen windows and the garage window and a lot of the surrounding T1-11 and 2x4s on the old kitchen bay window.

I’d known for awhile it probably had water damage since the 2×4 frame was literally crumbling but uncovering it all was a surprise. Thanks to the leftover T1-11 from the office window repair it was a pretty inexpensive repair (just time and paint).

But now I’m left with one more kitchen window to do, inside trim and then: paint.

I purchased 10 gallons of outdoor paint over the Memorial Day weekend (and still need to send in receipts for that rebate…) and will have it tinted in 2-3 gallon batches for the exterior.

While I’d really like to replace the sliding glass door before paint goes up, I think it’s a tad unrealistic with the summer budget I have in place.

I’ve also stained and assembled 2 new adirondack chairs that I purchased from Hayneedle and love them. They also fold up pretty flat to make storage easier in the winter. Soon I’ll need to pull out the outdoor rug and set up the front of the house for summer.

Indoors I’ve mostly been working to keep things clean and organized, decluttering slowly as I go through the house. I’ve already taken in several things to consignment and donation but it’s an on-going process.

I haven’t yet shown you the big upgrade I made to the dining room bench so that’s coming once I get the pictures done.

It’s probably time to go update my 2017 goals post since we’re almost to the midpoint of the year!

Making over the garage

So there are no less than 4 drafts of this post but they’re so sadly out of date that I decided to just start over.

When I brought home the Caddy last February I immediately lost a LOT of space in the garage, which is fine but puts a cramp in my style when it comes to staying organized out there.

It has also leaked oil, transmission fluid and gasoline on the floor so I had a combo of cardboard and an oil plan covering up the middle of the floor.

So a week ago I sent the car off to the shop for repairs and began cleaning up to remodel the floors.

This involves a lot of moving bins and containers around, sweeping until you feel like crying and then powering up the leaf blower, cleaning up oil spills, scraping paint drops and patching the concrete.

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Here’s the west side of the garage all emptied out and about to get washed down. Those grayish white spots are mostly concrete patches and I’ve taped up some plastic tarp around the storage units staying in place.

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After pouring on the etching solution and scrubbing it with a stiff brush, I strapped on the knee pads and used a squeegee to get as much water out as possible.

With a fan circulating some air and temps over 90, it was quickly dried and ready to paint.

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Once the solution is mixed you have to wait up to 10 minutes before brushing it on, depending on the outside temps.

To prep I made sure everything was moved out, gave one final sweep, set up the roller and long handle, got the sprinkles ready and set the timer.

You begin by stirring up the mixture for a couple minutes because it starts out like this:

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Mixing it up is pretty cool though

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On the first half of the garage it went on pretty quickly, although I skipped the garage door threshold and the center gap:

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And I had not yet painted the concrete footer around the perimeter but decided to go back and paint that with primer later on.

It always looks weird when wet but dries beautifully:

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As you can see I didn’t go all the way to the end of the garage where the door rolls down. 24 hours after finishing the west side, I began to move over storage units and organize everything.

My goal was to set up the west side with the storage I wanted and then everything that will go on the east side could be moved over temporarily.

I’d also started caulking the concrete gaps with a special caulk, but some water from the other side diluted the caulk which had not set up yet. That’s getting patched though.

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The east side of the garage was easier in some ways, I prepped the concrete footer and taped off the washer and dryer which stayed in place and then started rolling it on in the morning.

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I also need to replace that box which the hot water heater sits on, eventually.

Here’s how it goes:

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Now it’s drying and will be 12-18 hours before it can be walked on:

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Guess I won’t be able to do laundry. Darn.

It took awhile for me to figure out how to manage the door, I ended up thinking of a solution in a dream last night! I used (4) 4″ square pieces of wood, leftover from the raised garden bed project a few years ago. 2 pieces went outside on the driveway, 2 pieces were inside on the already dry floor. Then, I used a 3″ x 8″ board across the 4″ square blocks to hold the door from coming down.

My garage door is like most and will come down unless there’s an obstruction in the way. So I disengaged the automatic open feature and closed the door by hand, very slowly, so it would rest on the boards.

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Don’t you love those sprinkles?

I still need to do another coat of primer on the walls so it doesn’t look so patchy and then finish up the window frame.

On this side of the garage I’ll have one storage piece and the old butcher block in lieu of a new work bench. Then, hopefully, I can bring the Cadillac back in, drip free and shiny just like the new floors.

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.

A fresh start in 2015

It’s no secret that I’m a gal who loves a project. Pretty much from the moment I opened my new miter saw at Christmas I’ve been planning what I’ll build this year around the house and it’s quite a list.

There’s something about the cool way January sweeps in, giving a fresh start to old resolutions and renewing them again. It’s the time of year when people claim it’s “finally time” to get fit, save money, find a better job, get organized, eat well, and travel more.

Whether or not that verbal commitment is followed by action is another story entirely. No matter what your goals for the new year include here are 4 simple steps to sustaining your fresh start.

Step 1: Set up an Environment for Success 

We like to think that flipping over to a new page in our calendar means a fresh start but everyone comes into the year with baggage. We have habits that have been well established and creating new routines begins with the right environment.

Your very first task should be asking what in your current environment isn’t conducive to your success. Similar to the alcoholic who must learn a route home from work that doesn’t pass his favorite bar, you might need to change what you do now to make room for your success.

Dieters start by throwing out (not eating…) the bad food that makes them tired and sluggish.

Those who want to save money can begin by canceling unused memberships and subscriptions.

Getting rid of these roadblocks is the first step.

Step 2 : Think of the long road

Today I read how one friend is determined to sort through 20+ bins of stuff in the coming year, and her goal was to complete one before the end of the day.

Instead of trying to cram your goals into the first week of January, spread them out. 20 bins, in this case, means if you do one per week the task will be done by June.

Determine how you can think long term with your new goals and habits – after all, creating long lasting change is more valuable than the quick fix.

Step 3 : Share your goal with someone you trust

The jury is out on whether publicizing your goals is beneficial or detrimental but I believe it has more to do with your personality than anything else.

Instead of announcing your good intentions to the world, choose one person you trust to confide in. It could be a partner, spouse, friend, colleague or coach but spend as much time sharing why you need this change in your life as how you’re going to accomplish it.

There are two-fold benefits here. First, when you’re not acting how you said you would to reach your goals this friend can remind you of your commitment. And second, when you’re frustrated and ready to give up they can remind you why this is so important to you.

Step 4 : Build it into your schedule 

The biggest problem with making a change is the cognitive process that comes with it. If given the choice between what’s new and unsure and old routines we’ll almost always choose what we know. Part of this comes from decision fatigue, but also what’s most comfortable.

So instead of deciding what time to go to the gym or what to make for dinner or where to save your money – build these decisions into your schedule one week at a time.

Which might mean you need to schedule time to schedule, but instead of trying to plan the entirety of 2015 aim for the first week or month.

What are your 2015 commitments? I’m still working on mine for the new year.

Lots of Projects

Reading back over the past few months worth of posts, I realize that I’ve been teasing you about new project posts without delivering. My bad.

This weekend my goal is to wrap up a lot of little cleaning projects so that I can photograph the big, remodel and design projects that I’ve been working on for the past few months. Most of the blog posts are already written with (insert photo) throughout.

I won’t overwhelm you with 12 project posts at once but it will be nice to have more content on this old blog here.

Here are the finished projects I’ve yet to blog about:

  1. New linoleum in the master bath
  2. Newly installed sink & faucet in the master bath
  3. Painting the master bath built-ins
  4. Painting baseboards & rearranging furniture in the master bedroom
  5. Moving my bookshelves and selling 1/3 of my book collection
  6. Re-purposing the kitchen hutch
  7. New linoleum in the guest bath
  8. Re-arranging the office furniture & closet
  9. Re-organizing my DVDs (and selling the DVD towers)
  10. Painting the hall closet
  11. Updating the nightstands & creating labels for the Ikea Organizers
  12. Organizing the hall closet & re-using 2 lights
  13. Re-organizing the master closet
  14. Adding lighting to the guest and office closets
  15. Building 2 shelves for the master bath
  16. Add new gallery of frames to the hallway

Whew.

That’s not even looking ahead at my to do list projects:

  • Sand and paint side tables for outdoors
  • Fix up outdoor shelf and planter box
  • Sand and paint foot chest
  • Sand and re-stain the kitchen table
  • Replace the gutters and downspouts
  • A whole bunch of lighting updates (literally every room plus outdoors)

Note: after 2 months of dry weather California is finally experiencing some moisture. Unfortunately that looks like catching up on all our rain this week. Since I would really hate to work on the gutters or do work in the garage while it’s this cold, inside work it is.

Thinking about Christmas

My focus this month has been to donate, sell and give away a lot of my stuff. Many of my books are posted on a book exchange site, I traded in some DVDs, I’m already working with a consignment.

What could I possibly want for Christmas (aside from a week on a beach) then?

Possibly some experiences such as a Hot Air Balloon ride above Napa or a trip to Seattle to see the Space Needle, party in the rain and get some good coffee.

In the next year I’m going to replace my work laptop so Apple gift cards are good.

For services, I’m looking to order Netflix to stream movies and Spotify for music as I try to get more mobile with my entertainment options to avoid hauling around a lot of books when I travel.

The holidays are a time when generic gifts are typically failsafe. And yet, I don’t need another picture frame, I could easily light the town with my stash of candles, my kitchen is well stocked and if I buy another journal it’ll push me over the edge to hoarding.

The only bigger ticket items I’m looking at is a keyless entry for my Yaris (the little key fob thing) and an oversized leather chair like this one. Obviously those are expensive things.

When I think about what I need there’s not really much. Okay, we can all use cash because in our world extra money in the bank is peace of mind but honestly? I’m incredibly blessed.

Thanks to space heaters and slippers my house is warm.

In the pantry and freezers I have abundant (and healthy!) food.

Even my fabric stash is overflowing and I don’t even sew!

I have plenty. Which is why I’m not asking for lots this season, in fact I’m giving even more away to charity, to those in dire situations and to the hungry. Because it just feels right to give to someone who has so little instead of asking for one thing more to make my own life a little more comfortable.

Even if that leather chair calls to me in my dreams.

Also, these boys? They are so blessed too. They have water dishes, food bowls, treats galore, toys, costumes, leashes, and all that they need for happiness.

When is enough enough?

I’ve been working on some crafty projects, a little painting and clearing out some clutter so I hope to have those posts up soon.

But today I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of being and having “enough”.

On the one hand, I am totally overwhelmed by the blessings in my life. There are people who care about me, my home is overflowing with material things, my bank account is healthy and I even have good health, a world to explore and a great business.

On the other hand I do believe the W.W. quote about the nature of growth. That we all, as humans, aspire to grow and have and be more. The question for me is when does more become a hindrance?

For example, I have a lot of candles. They’re in jars, tapers, tiny tea lights, pillars… in every size, shape, scent and style you can imagine. They don’t really go bad so it’s easy to hoard them when I find some on sale or, more frequently, find one that smells good and buy four of them.

I like the look of candles, they’re practical, good to have in a power outage, I love shooting by candlelight… but when is enough enough?

A non-thing example…

I’ve recently talked to some friends about someone in my life who is a person I try not to be. Specifically, a very negative, downtrodden, that-will-never-work attitude that pervades every situation and conversation. For years now I have that criticism ringing in my ears – the accusation that I was “too negative” all the time.

How much realism is enough? How much hopeful optimism is enough? How many encouraging words are enough?

I don’t really know.

In the same way I don’t know when I have too many candles, sometimes we have to define in terms of the negative. I know I have too few candles when I have none. I know there are too few encouraging and positive words when I hear none.

Can there be too much of a good thing? Sometimes. But wouldn’t you rather risk giving too much instead of the alternative?

In the last few weeks I’ve been donating and selling a lot of things. And with every shirt I pull out of the closet, every pillow or candle or spatula, I ask myself “do I have enough?” and “have I given back enough?”

Just as there are people in my community who can’t afford dinner tonight, or new clothes for their children or blankets to keep warm there too are people who haven’t heard an encouraging word, who haven’t been smiled at, who haven’t received a hug.

It seems November becomes “the month” for Thankfulness and if those daily Facebook posts are any indication, people are really blessed and happy. I guess my question is, are you being a blessing to others? Are you making them happy?

If not, don’t be surprised if the people in your life are turning away from your presence this season (or in general). I know I’m making some pretty big life decisions that stem from that concern.

When is it enough? Maybe when you stop giving to keep score and give from a place of abundance and joy instead.