Saturday, March 12, 2011

Not My Imagination

According to this guy, I wasn't imagining things.  I'm not so sure I'm glad I wasn't . . .

Friday, March 11, 2011

Gitter Done!: New Drawer Pulls

Welcome to the latest Gitter Done!!!

Sooooo . . . I've had these pulls for about three years.  We bought them for a kitchen in a rental, but I never did install them.  I've been playing with the idea of putting them on my bedroom set for a couple years, and I'm done!  Woo-hoo!

Here's a before shot, giving you an idea of what I've been using since Vern bought me this set just before we were married.

In 1998, this was my dream furniture.  Classic lines, good proportions, a little molding detail, and a richly colored finish.  My only beef was that those pretty Chippendale pulls made a whole lotta noise.  I know their rhythm more than by heart--I think it's now a permanent part of my genetic makeup.  And if there was a baby sleeping in the room, watch out.  I quickly gained mad stealth skillz with those banging handles.

So, once we got a little settled here and my own nesting instinct kicked in hard (about six weeks before HJ was born), pulled out my beloved DeWalt drill and other sundry tools & supplies, and replaced the pulls on the big dresser, living in the girls' room:

The plugs I bought were too big for the old holes, so they're still au naturel for now.  (Nevermind that it has been six and a half months.  I'll take care of them on a future Gitter Done! party.)

Next up was the highboy dresser the two older boys are using (MrC and the Anderman).  That one was easy-peasy . . . no drilling required.  I just took out the old pulls and put knobs all the way down the front, choosing holes that progressed outward.  (It's a darkish day today, and this is in a dark corner of their room, so please excuse the uber-dark shot.)

You can see in the photo that I used the inside holes on the first two drawers, and then the outside holes on the last four.  I really like it.  (Again, the holes are unfilled, but once I find some 1/4" hardwood plugs, I'll be all over it.)

And lastly, my nightstand.  The pulls aren't exactly straight (I was impatient, and tired, and just wanted to Gitter Done . . . not go to the garage and make a jig), but I'm using the Nester's mantra: It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.  (And I think I nearly believe it.  But, once I find those plugs, I think I'll glue some in and try again . . . ;o)

I think, of all of the pieces on which I replaced hardware, my little nightstand is my favorite.  Isn't she darling?

Someday I might paint this set . . . I'm not sure.  I really love the finish, and for now, it's a major component in the master bedroom color scheme.  This rental is So. White. . . . and a lot of my master bedroom decor is white, too (notice the lamp and darling Fog & Thistle paper art?).  So, they're not headed for the paint queue quite yet.

And lastly, I'll leave you with some fun eye candy of this awesome hardware:

What did you Gitter Done! this week?

Beyond Words

First thing this morning, I see Vern's smiling face.  After our good mornings, he told me that Japan had been hit by a monstrous earthquake and tsunami.  For some reason, the news came with a tremendously ominous feeling.  There have been so many major natural disasters in the last decade.  Then, when I check facebook today to see what my friends are posting about Japan, I'm met on every hand by tragic news: one friend's aunt is in serious condition with a brain tumor, asking for prayers; that same friend has had some kind of mixup with her finances and now cannot meet her rent; there's a troop in Afghanistan that has lost four soldiers since last night . . . I stopped reading at that point.

Is it my own short memory (due to only having lived for just short of 35 years), or are there more huge natural disasters happening now?  From what I've been able to see at Wikipedia, it seems like these kinds of things come in clusters.  There was a cluster in the 1920's & 30's, and it looks like we're in one now.

I've started and deleted several attempts at this post . . . so I'm going to tear myself away from twitter (which is amazing for breaking news at a time like this) and videos of the quake & tsunamis, and go do something constructive.  I think I'll go put my sheets in the dryer and build something with some lumber that has been waiting for me since just after HJ was born.  And make a good lunch for my family.  And hug and kiss my little (and not-so-little) ones.  Nothing like a crisis elsewhere to get you serious about really living.

I hope you and yours are safe, wherever you are, and that you'll drop procrastination and excuses so you can do the most important things Now . . . and not later.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Gitter Done!: Laundry Room

Well, the time has come 'round again for the Gitter Done roundup, and I'm so happy to participate again. I've got my laundry nook (in the dining room, no less), to share today.

This space has LONG been the bane of the kitchen.  Messy, catch-all, dirty laundry piled on the floor and clean on top of the dryer, new dryer inner door waiting for installation, ad infinitum, I tried to ignore this space as much as possible.  It had bi-fold doors that seriously impinged on our ability to walk around the table, but were a real pain to close (due to the aforementioned mess).  A serious downer, I tell you.

Then, one day, I decided to get serious about enjoying, if not fully loving, my space.  So, the doors came off.  (If my landlord is reading this, never fear.  They're safely stowed in the garage.)  That left me with this:

Yikes.  I know.

Surprisingly enough, it didn't take long at all to get the chaos cleaned up.  (At least from the laundry nook.  I still have that box of craft paints and a couple of other small things for which to find homes.)  The only thing that took me until the next day was hanging the curtains.  They're not perfect, but it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.

And here's what I'm working with now: (Please forgive the darkish photos.  It's raining, still, and I can't wait until it's sunny to post this for fear I'll miss this weekend's Gitter Done link-up.)

Tres better, no? ;o)  I had the panels in my curtains box (what? you don't have a curtains box? You're missing out.), and just had to go to the garage and bonus room to collect the various pieces of the curtain rod.  I've had that rod since Vern and I were first married.  Its first install was in the master bedroom of Vern's condo (he owned it before I owned him, so I call it "his" ;o), then in the nursery when we brought MrC home from the hospital.  It has been installed in many of the rentals we've lived in, and I'm glad to be able to use it again.

Here's another, full-length glamour shot, 'cause I know you can't get enough of my new and improved space. ;o)

What you can't see is even revamped and improved.  On the left (which I didn't photograph, since it's still very utilitarian) is hung the plastic bag dispenser and there's a metal wastebasket tucked behind the white drawers for dishcloths and the random laundry bits that find their way downstairs, like those dirty socks that leapt off of my daughter's feet and crawled beneath the couch under their own power.

On the right we have my method for keeping the Bear's socks under control.  He doesn't often take them off on his own, so I can grab them and toss them in here.  They're laundered in that sweater bag, so (get this) the number of his socks that come out of the laundry is the same as the number of socks I put IN the laundry!  Pretty nifty, no?  It works great for HJ's socks, too.  (I can hardly believe he's four months old already!)

Now you see me . . . now you don't!  I love it.  The curtains really soften and gentle the space.  With the white walls, white tile, and white bi-fold doors, it was cold, hard, and sloppy.  (The doors are nearly as old as the house, and they gaped and hung a little crooked.)

I know I don't have a wide angle full-room "before", but here's the "after".  The wall still needs some furnishing, and the table really needs refinishing (I want to go black--still trying to get Vern on board), but this is really lovely to me. :o)

Thanks for stopping by, and have a wonderful weekend!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

It's Still There!

Today, Vern and I went on a date.  Yep.  A real, live, date.  (We could hardly believe it.)  While my sainted mother stayed at our place with all six children, we took off for the woods to go visit our forlorn building site.  I wanted to see it, to prove to myself that it was still there, and to scheme and dream with the man I love most in the world about how we'll take the next steps in the project, and when we'll live there.

As we trudged through the crusty, deep snow, (taking frequent short rests for my pathetic physical condition), we finally got to the corner of the shared road, and could see our little place off in the distance.

Homeward, ho!

As we drew closer, I had to take another picture.  It's such a cute little building, and I really have missed it.  We had such a flurry of activity, and then when the snow started (and with Vern still out of work), keeping the road open just wasn't possible.  So, our little house patiently waited.

Now, with a contract pending (which is a tremendous blessing, and don't we know it!), we can see a time ahead when we'll have something to put towards finishing this baby.  And so, for family and friends alike, here's a little tour. ;o)

In the photo above, you can see the "man door" into the shop at the back of the garage.  As you come in the door, this is what you see of the shop.

The area to the right of the stairs will be walled off into a small office for Vern, and a slightly lowered ceiling will provide lumber storage between the true ceiling and the office ceiling.  Once the office in the farmhouse is finished functional, the office wall that separates it from the shop will be removed (the wall along the stairs will stay, I think), and that will become more shop space.

Looking through the doorway framed into the wall on the right in the above photo, you can see into the garage proper.  There's our garage door (I love the lights--they make it so much nicer in there!), and the great concrete job.  This is where the lion's share of the belongings that make the cut will reside during our stay here.  Shelving will go in along the side walls and the wall shared with the shop.  A very few of our belongings will be upstairs, and the rest will have gone on to new homes or their final resting place.

Here you can see the other end of the shop, with the man door on the left (complete with decorative Vern), the door to the garage on the right, and one of our five downstairs windows.  (Two are in the garage proper, and two more in the office.)  Vern wants to keep the shop heated and keep the piano down here, but I'm currently enamored of the idea of leasing it out (essentially someone paying us to store it, in a safe, temperature-controlled environment).

Here's the view peeking up over the floor as I came up the stairs into the apartment.  I'm looking through the bathroom and into the kitchen.

Looking to my right from that same vantage point, you can see the kids' room/rooms.  We may or may not put a dividing wall down the middle to make two rooms.  It's under discussion, believe me.  I'm still not really sure what I would prefer . . . dividing the children up a bit, or essentially having a bunk room.  Except without bunks.  Or much room.  (The children will have thin foam beds to roll out, and minimal, but definitely sufficiently warm, bedding.)  The next photo is taken standing in front of the window on the left, above.

Looking across the structure, you can see the tub/shower where the bathroom will be (and in nearly its final position), the stairwell to the left of that, the kitchen nook to the far right, and the living area/master bedroom at the other end of the space.  The next photo is taken standing between the two windows in the photo above.

Looking back at the childrens' room/s.  The wood stove will go against the bathroom wall, and I'm scheming over how to get a short peninsula counter for the kitchen against that left-hand short wall.

These are a view of the eave cabinets in the living room.  The outside spaces will be accessible from the cabinets just in from them, so the four center spaces will have doors, and the two outside ones won't.  This frees up room on the ends so we can build in a window seat/cabinet/bookcase on the gable end walls, and have nightstands or small tables on either side of the murphy bed that will be mounted on the living room side of the end bathroom wall.  (Against the wall that the tub/shower will back up against.)

And lastly, another view of my little kitchen.  I'm so excited to make this space functional, comfortable, beautiful, inviting, and fun.  Finishing it with finds from the ReStore will be an adventure, and bringing to life the concepts and feelings I already have swirling in my head promises a lot of work and excitement.

Here's to a place of our own. :o)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Quote of the Day and Attendant Thoughts

"Sometimes I think, if I took the time to do all the things a person is supposed to do to live correctly I wouldn’t have time to live. I’d be too busy getting my oil changed, buying new A/C filters, flossing 3 times a day, cleaning my refrigerator once a week, buying fresh organic foods daily from the local farmer, changing the batteries in my smoke detector, volunteering, and other real important stuff." --The Nester

When I showed that to Vern, he paraphrased something Joel Spolsky wrote (which, unfortunately, we can't find).  The main idea is that if you want to be really good at something, you need to be lousy at a bunch of others.  We are mortal creatures, with limited minds.  (As much as we like to think that we're not, and that we are, cranially speaking, all that and a bag of chips.)  By choosing to do one thing, we actively choose to NOT do every other thing we could possibly be doing at that moment in time.  Ditto with thoughts.  Ditto with words.  The power of choices as constrained by limited time is rather staggering.

So. Think about what you do each day. How do you use your time? What are you choosing over everything else? When you stop to actually see what you've been doing, does it fill you with joy and peace and a sense of satisfaction (or at least a knowledge that your family really needed you to scrub that grout and clean the oven)?  Or is it like a poem I just ran across that I wrote years ago about my struggle as a housewife?

Sunday shoes and crumpled denim
   clean laundry everywhere;
Unmade bed, and used towels on the 
   desk chair.
Open dresser drawers, crammed shelves
   and closets.
Hangers & boxes - receipts, books and stationery.

A plugged in iron not on, leaning against 
    the nightstand.
Half-finished notes, scissors and 
   wasted time.
Is this my life -- this disarray around me
    on the floor?
The unused day speaks from the mess --

I still have plenty of reproachful days, when my mortality gets the best of me, and I find myself searching for something that will make me happy . . . some kind of entertainment, some leisure activity . . . and I always find, at the end of the day, that I'm more frustrated and forlorn than I ever was at the beginning.

I'm going to try to pick a time each day to assess how I'm doing with what needs to be done, and jump in there and do it.  The days that I give myself over to my work, and consecrate my efforts and time to my children and husband, are the days when I'm happiest of all.

(*Yes, I write poetry.  I have written quite a bit, actually . . . but not for a long, long time.  Something to do with a persistent cycle of pregnancy, lactation and recovery for the last twelve years.)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Resolution and Resuscitation

So, I've been reading a lot of home makeover blog posts.  Blogs like Funky Junk Interiors, Shanty2Chic, The Stories of A to Z, Primitive and Proper, Songbird, and the Nesting Place (see the sidebar for a full list of design/crafty blogs I love) have all got me thinking about how to best to feather the carriage house nest.  Since this winter has been much wetter (and colder!!!) than last year, not much has happened since the snow first fell, as we simply haven't had the funds to keep the road plowed.  $100 a pop was just out of our budget.  So, we've gotten to do a lot of reading and dreaming and scheming the last few months.

Yesterday, I managed to get out for a quick errand downtown while my parents played with the children at home.  On the way home, I stopped by the local Habitat for Humanities ReStore, and was amazed at all of the really good stuff they've got there.  My area is small town rural, and the thrift stores usually don't have much of anything in them (like really--not much at all); I somehow expected the ReStore to have inventory of a similar stripe.  I was so glad to be wrong!

Walking around the main part of the showroom, I saw bathroom vanity tops ranging from one very nice gray stone one, complete with undermount porcelain sink and backsplash to a rockin' 70's harvest gold cultured marble (complete with metallic gold swirling).  I need to be sure to take my real camera with me next time, as that baby needs documenting. ;o)  Toilets of many colors and ages (Kohler one piece to a tiny manufactured home commode), shower doors, lamps, chandeliers, hardware, hinges, tile, some flooring . . . Oops. I digress, don't I?  Long story short, we could get nearly everything we need from the ReStore.  There are a few things that, for safety reasons, we'll need to buy new; but there are a great number of others that will be perfect.

On my way out yesterday, I bought a self-closing hinge (for only $3.50! I just looked up the price online new, and I saved $10. Pardon me while I pick my jaw up off of the keyboard and delete those random characters . . . ).  As I was standing at the register, I saw this cute little chandelier hanging waaaaaay up on the wall.   I whipped out my phone and snapped a quick shot:

The warehouse ceilings are about 18', and this bracket was at about 14.

The white hobnail shades are what caught my eye, kind of flirty and sweet.  The chandy itself was shiny brass (so not what I'm doing in the carriage house), but there are plenty of ways to address that.  I went home thinking about that little fixture, and told various and sundry family members about it.  I don't think I repeated myself much.  It only took about 30 minutes for me to decide it was meant to hang in the carriage house.  That little light even appeared in my dreams.

This morning I took the little children with me (leaving the older ones to do something quiet while their dad worked) back to the ReStore to bring that little number home with me.  We braved skating rink ice in the parking lot and nippy cold air to get there shortly after they opened . . . I didn't want anyone snagging it before me!  When we walked in the door, a quick glance up and off to my left, and saw . . .


There was also an amazingly hideous lamp just begging for me to bring her home . . . pink with gold accents and paint drizzles, with a woven shade complete with a metallic silver accent and chunky yarn embroidery.  Finish aside, I could see some serious potential in that baby.  So, $31.70 and a short drive home later, I bring you the ReStore fashion show "before" photos.

First, the sweet little chandelier:

See?  Didn't I tell you she was sweet?  I might play around with her configuration a bit, but mostly I'm really pleased with her overall design.  Another gratuitous shot for ya:

And then, we have madame le lamp:

Hideous, I tell you.  That pink and gold . . . that shade . . . goodness gracious, me-oh-my.  I couldn't help myself, and pulled the shade cover off as soon as I had taken the above pics.  It looks better already!

These fantastic raw materials are currently disassembled, and awaiting their makeover appointments.  I'm thinking the chandy will become a swag lamp that we can use in this rental, and then direct-wire in the carriage house.  The lamp needs a good, sturdy table, as it's pretty darn heavy.  I bought it for this place, since it was built in true mid-80's style, and none of the living spaces have lighting in the ceiling.  (Kitchen & dining do, but not the living room . . . )

I'll bet'cha just can't wait until I get these babies spruced up, eh?  Neither can I! :o)