05 February 2016

Feline Friday: Through the Day with Lily

While working today, this was my view. :)
Mommie! I am hungrie!
 

 Mommie!


Mommie! Feed me!
 

 MOMMIE! 

 Then later, whilst I was enjoying a muffin...
 MOMMIE! Again I am hungrie!

DIS MUFFIN...I needs it!

 MUFFIN YOU SHALL BE MINE!

 Then finally (after a tiny nibble of muffin), along came Lily the cuddlebug. Awww!
As you can see, there's never a dull moment in the day with Lily in the house! :)

02 February 2016

Cart Project Finished

 Last fall, I shared that I was getting ready to start re-habbing this cart which I brought home from my dad's garage. He used it for his tools and, as you can see, it was in very rough shape. It has taken awhile, but this project is finally finished!

After trying a few different grades of sandpaper, it was apparent that no amount of sanding was going to fix all of this cart's issues. So we asked a friend to sandblast it and he generously did so...using my dad's sandblaster which his neighbor had purchased at my auction. So in a sad but nice sort of way, my dad participated in this little project.

After the sandblasting was done, Spouse took on the job of spray painting, so all of the credit for this project goes to him. I'm very pleased with how it turned out!

The only disappointing part of the project was that I fell short of my initial "vision" for it, shown below in this Pinterest photo. I had planned to paint the shelves in three colors to match my craft room but as you can see, the inspiration cart has handles whereas my cart has "legs" on the corners. Because the legs look like they're almost part of the shelves (instead of being completely separate as in the inspiration photo), it was hard to determine a color scheme that worked. So I opted for a galvanized silver color for the entire cart which makes it more versatile. But I will always love this three-color cart! *sigh*

Anyway...moving on! :) I bought new screws and Spouse put the cart back together. I really do love the simplicity of the re-habbed silver cart!

Even sandblasting did not remove all the imperfections in the cart. It had had just had too many layers of paint and too much hard use to erase all of that. "It's character," Spouse reminded me. Very true.

The new screws were only available in brass. At first I thought I'd spray paint them to match the cart, but then we opted to leave them as is. After all, the silver and brass combination is popular right now.

I have a couple of spots where I could put the cart in my craft room but I'm not sure yet exactly where it will go. Of course, my dad used to roll the cart wherever he needed it and I can, too. That's the nice thing about a cart!

I also haven't decided exactly how to use the shelves, but another good thing about a cart is that it gives you more horizontal storage/display space that can be changed as needed.

So now I have a few items from my dad's shop cleaned up and put to use in our house. I know that he and my mom would have gotten a big kick out of that.

jp



31 January 2016

This Fruitcake


 If I see fruitcake at a holiday gathering or any other place out in the wild, I will not eat it. I'm actually afraid of most fruitcake, especially fruitcake with GREEN bits in it. There is only one fruitcake I will eat, and it is surely one of the most delicious treats in all the world: Trappist Abbey (not Downton Abbey!) Monastery Fruitcake.

I've long been smitten with this fruitcake, so much that I've blogged about it on a few occasions. My late grandma used to purchase these fruitcakes from a catalog at Christmas. For years, I watched perplexed as my grandma, mom, and aunt swooned over them each holiday. Then one year I finally took a nibble. Oh, my. It was LOVE.

Then at some point (this was back in the dark ages before the internet) the catalog stopped carrying the fruitcakes, so we no longer enjoyed them at Christmas. Life happened, and I kind of forgot about them. Finally a few years back, something triggered a fruitcake memory and a quick internet search yielded GOLD. The fruitcakes were still out there and available for purchase, shipped straight to my door/mouth! :)

The fruitcake comes in a small square box (a larger size is also available but would be even more devastating to the fitness plan!) and measures approximately 4x4x4. You can see how much of my fruitcake I've eaten so far this holiday season! 

This is a very dark, dense fruitcake with none of those scary green bits. It's loaded with pecans and other treasures. And this one is all mine until it is gone. :)
Until next year, Monastery Fruitcake!
jp

30 January 2016

Swiffer Love

 Every once in awhile, I crawl out from under my rock to partake of some of the modern conveniences that most people have known about for years. 
Case in point: SWIFFER.

WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL MY LIFE?

HOW HAVE I NOT KNOWN ABOUT THE AMAZING INVENTION THAT IS SWIFFER?

I know what you're thinking: HOW HAS SHE BEEN CLEANING HER FLOORS ALL THESE YEARS? Yes, that is indeed a worrisome question, and I assure you that I HAVE been doing my domestic chores, but with a heavy vacuum. This new Swiffer is lightweight and works great on hard surfaces, just like they say on TV!

So what prompted the purchase of this new modern convenience? The new tile bathroom floor! During our bathroom remodeling project when we were using our guest bathroom, I wiped up the floor on my hands and knees each day with a wet cloth. But the master bathroom is a bit too big for that (plus the tile is bumpy on my knees!), so when Daughter suggested a Swiffer, I thought I'd investigate.

Sure enough, Swiffers are available sort of everywhere, and for only $11.99 you get the device plus a few wet and dry wipes! The handle itself is sort of ingenious (I have low standards!) as it snaps right together with those little rounded bumps and holes -- no instructions needed!

And look at this! See those little green Jetson-like ovals? They're designed for holding the corners of the wipe! Poke them in with your finger and off you go, Swiffering dust you didn't even know you had! (Well, dust you knew you had but were just ignoring...)

It's very clever, this modern convenience! So far, I've Swiffered all the solid surfaces in the house, with more Swiffering fun sure to happen this weekend...
...before it's time to crawl back under my rock!

29 January 2016

Feline Friday: Hunkering Down

 Our next snow event is a few days off, but Lily wants to be prepared! She is already hunkering down...

 
 
 ...fashionably! :)
jp


27 January 2016

Bathroom Remodel: We are Done!

Warning: Long post! :)
I'm super excited to report that we are officially DONE with the bathroom project! Of course, I haven't hung anything on the walls or added many personal touches, but I'm in no rush for that. All the hard stuff is done and we couldn't be happier with how things turned out!
 
It's amazing to me how we didn't add any space to the bathroom but by using different materials and colors, it feels so much larger now.

In this post, I'd like to share a bit about what I learned through this process as well as a few before and after pictures. If you'd like to see more photos, just click on the "Bathroom Remodel" tag at the bottom of this post which will link you to all the posts I've done in this series.

I learned a lot in working on this project. Here are just a few points that come to mind, which I hope will help anyone who might be embarking on a remodeling project!
  • Scour Pinterest for ideas you love. Know what you like and what you don't like.
  • Consider both functionality and style. A remodel that looks great but doesn't function well is not a good investment, in my opinion!
  • It's not easy to find light fixtures and plumbing fixtures that match. Try to pick them out at the same time.
  • "Oil-rubbed bronze" means different things to different companies. If matching metals is important to you, carry a sample with you to the store.
  • Be prepared for a lot of dust in your house!
  • Know your budget before you start.
  • Take EVERYTHING out of the space before you begin.
  • Things can take longer than expected. It's OK. It's better to proceed slowly than to rush and not be pleased with the results.
  • Quality workmanship shows and is worth the extra expense.
  • ALWAYS test colors. ALWAYS get a sample and bring it home before making a decision. That goes for flooring, grout, wall-covering, paint, stain, window coverings...ANYTHING with a color.
  • Proceed slowly in your decision-making. You don't have to have everything picked out at the beginning of your project. Colors and materials look much different after they are installed so allow yourself the chance to tweak your design as you go. 

 ****************************

  The first step (and most defining, from a design standpoint) in the process was to choose a new cabinet. The color and style of the cabinet set the tone for the rest of the bathroom. The new cabinet is walnut with a counter made of Livingstone. It's quite a bit taller than our old cabinet (we love that feature!) but otherwise it's almost exactly the same width. We also replaced the large mirror with two smaller mirrors to match the vanity.

Cabinet area BEFORE:

Cabinet area AFTER:

Once the cabinet was ordered, we could move on to flooring and other decisions. Everyone (with the possible exception of Tinsel!) was very happy to see the old carpet go! These days, most people opt for a hard surface in their bathroom. Carpet is very difficult to keep clean in that type of space! We chose a 1" hexagon tile from The Tile Shop. I am very happy with the tile and surprisingly, it hasn't been cold this winter!

Floor BEFORE:

Floor AFTER:

One of the biggest changes in the bathroom was the removal of the corner tub. I'm so happy we made that decision! Opening up that space allowed us to expand the shower and just makes the entire area feel more open. Eventually I'll probably put some type of large ottoman in the space (bigger than the tiny one that is pictured below).

Corner space BEFORE:

Corner space AFTER with the tub removed:

Our old shower was one of those plastic pre-formed shower stalls with sliding doors. The doors have been really hard to keep clean over the years, so we were happy to try something new. The new shower is about one foot wider than the old one (although it feels bigger than that because of the materials) with subway tile on the walls and glass doors. We were concerned about keeping the glass doors streak-free, but a good coat of Rain-X and a trusty squeegee after every use seem to be doing the trick!

Shower BEFORE:

Shower AFTER:

Another big change involved the wall-covering. Because of the difficulty in removing all the green wallpaper, we opted to cover it over. I love the look of wainscoting, so we decided to put that around the main area of the bathroom with a textured brown wallpaper above it. We (SPOUSE!) just wallpapered right over the top of the green paper with no issues. Much better than stripping it and taking chunks of drywall with it in the process!

Mega-credit goes to our great contractor for re-creating the wainscoting I found on Pinterest in this inspiration photo!

Wall-covering BEFORE:

Wall-covering AFTER:
 

By the way, we LOVE the hooks! I found the idea for hooks on Pinterest. Super handy for wet towels!

  Another big change involved the window coverings. The curtains were in place when we moved to the house 22 years ago, but we added the mini-blinds shortly after arriving. As much as I loved them at the time, I came to really dislike how difficult they are to clean. So we removed the curtains and replaced the mini-blinds with simple window shades. I love them!

Window coverings BEFORE:

Window coverings AFTER:
 
 Lighting was an area that ended up being more difficult that I would have predicted. In addition to changing the sconces above the cabinet, we added a corner light which is primarily decorative but does add a nice ambiance. Our old "Hollywood" type light fixture over the cabinet put out so much light you could practically do surgery, so we replaced some of that brightness with can lights in the ceiling.

 Lighting BEFORE:
 

 Lighting AFTER:

Spouse did a great job of figuring out which switches should govern which lights, all of which now have dimmers.

Other than replacing the hardware, our old linen-type closet didn't change, but I completely cleaned it out and only brought back in the items we truly need. I also took the opportunity to re-organize and label the contents. This is a little thing, but it makes a big difference! We will update our clothes closet in the next phase of this project. (Get ready, Spouse!)

There are no BEFORE pictures of the inside of the linen closet. It was way too scary to show you! But you can see the door at the right of this photo.

Linen closet AFTER:

Thanks to all who have followed along on this remodeling adventure with me! If anyone has any questions about the process or products we used, please feel free to leave me a note in the comments!
Stay tuned (as soon as Spouse recovers!) for the next phase in this process, when we will be updating our adjoining bedroom and closet! Can't wait! And this time, we WILL be stripping wallpaper! :)
 jp