Archive | November, 2011

Ick Factor

30 Nov

I have a relatively high tolerance for “ick,” but I totally discovered my limit last night.  In a surprising bout of after-work motivation, I decided to get started on my basement organization project (that I embarrassingly shared with you here).

I was an organizing ninja….


…under a pile of wrapping paper, I discovered a dead mouse.  But, like I said, I have a high tolerance for “ick,” so that barely phased me.  We’ve found one other dead mouse in the house, and a few dead ones outside, but no live ones thankfully.  I think our 2 killer kittens would promptly make them sorry.  What really icked me out, though, was when I tried to dispose of said mouse.  I covered my hand with an inside out plastic bag and several sheets of paper towel and picked up the not so dearly departed.  Well, he left me a gift… of his fur stuck to the concrete floor.  ICK ICK ICK ICK ICK.  I know, not the image you want, so I’m sorry, but I had to vent.  Bleach to the rescue thankfully, but I may be scarred for life.  And I may be a wee bit melodramatic, but at the very least, I was scarred for the rest of the night.

It was a traumatic house evening all around.  When I emerged from the depths of the basement to announce our ‘furry’ friend to Hubby, the smoke alarm started going off.  On Chopped, they always make the error of not heating up the grill pan enough, so Hubby overcompensated.  Our steak dinner that Hubby was cooking got a little too seared on one side.  In his defense, the inside was cooked to perfection, but it took a while for the smoke to clear.

The last semi-traumatic event involved my jewelry.  Somehow the Hubs walked into the small chest in the bedroom where my throngs of jewelry live while they eagerly await pretty frames to live in.  Well, the jewelry and the dishes and holders and a leaning frame acted like dominoes and all went a-toppling.  Must be a sign- I guess I need to get moving on those frames.

To cleanse your mind of any unpleasant images I may have caused, I’ll leave you with a few images of organizational prowess.

via 1,2,3


Roadkill Rescue

28 Nov

It’s a first for this blog and I’m not gonna lie, I’m kind of excited.  I’ve posted my projects on link parties on other blogs, but this is the first time one of my projects has actually been featured on another blog!

Roadkill Rescue is one of the fantastically awesome blogs that I follow and I submitted my coffee table bench last week on a whim.  Roadkill Rescue (as you can probably guess by the name) features trash to treasure projects, so I’m honored to be a part of it!  You should check out the amazing transformations on Roadkill Rescue, but I warn you, you may get sucked in for hours (totally worth it though).

Pin and Tell: Dark and Stormy

23 Nov

Welcome to my “Pin and Tell” weekly series. If you missed my previous “Pin and Tell” posts, check them out here.


This week’s Pin


I love tufted sofas, I love bolster pillows on tufted sofas, and I love that artwork.  The art sets the tone and the colors set the atmosphere- its moody and deep in the best possible way.  The mirrored coffee table and light accessories in the mix keep the space from becoming heavy.  Plus, how comfy does that sofa look?!  I just want to curl up and enjoy the beauty.


Have a happy Thanksgiving and try not to eat too much!

You Will Not Win, Winter!!

21 Nov

I am solar powered.  Warm sunny days motivate me to get sh*t done (like yesterday- yay!).

Can you imagine what dark cold days do to me?  Yup, I hibernate.  By the end of winter, there’s usually a butt print on the sofa and I’ve caught up on all the reruns of my favorite shows (twice).  Every year I vow “not this year!” but I REALLY mean it this winter!!  I have a list of projects 5 miles long and a hubby who’s getting sick of my 5 mile long project list taking up room in the dining room and basement. (Sorry Babe!)

The way I figure it, if I vow to you that this winter will be different, then I have you guys to be accountable to.  So here goes!

I have 2 rooms in my sights currently: my bedroom and my basement.  I already mentioned my bedroom in this post , but the basement has been my deep dark secret (pun intended)…. until now.

Brace yourself, it ain’t pretty:

Note the random toilet. Classy, no?

future dining chairs!!

I’m a gal who always has at least 1 project going on.  Now that we have a house, my projects are bigger, messier, and take up much more room.  oops.  The dining room has been the work room up till now, but that makes it tough to have guests over for dinner.  If you’re anything like me, not having guests over, means that the house doesn’t get as clean as it probably should…… “Who, me?” Yes, you.  Well, I miss having friends over for dinner and I miss having the house ready to show off to guests (I’m an interior designer here, I see my house as a living 3d portfolio).  So what’s the solution to my woes and what does it have to do with the horrific basement shown above?

I’ll give you a hint- it involves a LOT of organizing, and some craigslist shopping.

I’m tackling my basement once and for all!  First and foremost, there will be a work/project area with all my tools organized (lets pause for a sec and appreciate those 2 beautiful words: organized tools…. ).  There will also be a dedicated, organized storage area, and a totally reorganized laundry area.  Do you see a trend?  ORGANIZED!!  IF I’m feeling really ambitious, I might actually make the random toilet in our basement feel less random, although I really have no idea how yet.

"Oh, hello, I'm not causing trouble down here, I swear"

The first step is the toughest though… purging and organizing.  I forced myself to get this started last weekend and donated about 10 tons of clothes to Savers (like GoodWill or Salvation army).  When we moved, we got rid of a lot (believe it or not), but we still have stuff that we kept ‘in case we needed it’ that we haven’t used in a year.  If I don’t remember you exist, you don’t need to take up space in my basement.

Once I do a major purge and get started on the organizing, craigslist is going to help me find some pieces to organize and maybe give a little pizazz to my work area.  My dad mentioned that my Grandpa used to use old dressers to hold his tools and such- I love this idea!  Power tools stored in a cool old dresser, maybe painted an awesome color?  Doesn’t sound like me at all.

If I’m cooped in the house all winter, I might as well make it productive.  Now I just have to force myself to dig in and do it!

Do you have any cold weather projects planned?

Pin and Tell: Regency Rustic

16 Nov

Welcome to my “Pin and Tell” weekly series. If you missed my previous “Pin and Tell” posts, check them out here.


This week’s Pin


I love the balance of this space.  Half the elements are very formal and traditional, and the other half are weathered and rustic.  The balance of these two seemingly opposite aesthetics creates such a sophisticated, relaxed vibe.  As a color-phile, I do want to throw in a few bright accessories, however, but that’s just me.  The map is amazing, don’t you agree?  I’ll admit, though, I don’t quite get the karate-chopped pillow look that I keep seeing everywhere…  What did the pillow do to deserve such violence??

I picked this space today because my personal obsession focus has really switched to my bedroom.  Since the introduction of my amazing new bench, I feel like the rest of the room needs to live up to it!  I got new bedside lamps (the jury’s still out- I’ll blog about it later this week), and most of the elements in the space are currently kinda formal.  Since we’re not formal people, I need to find items that will add a relaxed aesthetic into the mix.

What room is your current design focus?

Pin and Tell: Bold Dining

10 Nov

Welcome to my “Pin and Tell” weekly series. If you missed my previous “Pin and Tell” posts, check them out here.


This week’s Pin


We’re going to pretend that the disco ball doesn’t exist.  If you subtract that monstrosity, I think the dining room is near perfection.  My opinion of the room actually surprises me, it’s not the usual type room that I die over, but I’m totally swooning.  It’s completely an unexpected composition and it.  is.  awesome.

I think it’s the colors that really reach through the computer and grab me.  That green.  Oh, that green.  *sigh* I know that green doesn’t float everyone’s boats, but I’m drawn to it like a squirrel to a bird feeder.  In fact, we painted our office very close (although not AS bright).  The crown moulding of brown at the top grounds the green and gives a very contemporary color a more traditional vibe.  The blue sideboard and the cranberry on the chairs are supporting players and just look sooo rich.  I, for one, would NEVER have thought to put those colors together in that composition, but I’m so glad they did.  Those birds!  Did you expect me not to comment? I want to be a part of that flock.

Apparently it is possible to be regal and whimsical at the same time.  This room is proof of that.


How to be a Bench

3 Nov

Did you catch my big coffee table bench reveal yesterday?  Here’s how I got there:

I started with this

The first step was repair.  It needed love: popping veneer, broken off corners, and cracks everywhere.  I glued the veneer back down and the broken off pieces back into place, then went nuts with the wood filler.   Next step?

I finally had an excuse to buy a new power tool!! It’s nothing complicated or technical, but I am now the proud owner of a Ryobi Pad Sander.  You have no idea how excited that makes me (a wee bit pathetic maybe).  I got the sander so I could spare my arm- that thing needed a shit-ton of sanding.  Now my extensive power tool collection includes my drill, jig saw, and sander.  Keep em coming!!

Hubby could care less about tools, although that works for me because I could generally care less about cooking which he’s into.  He gets to enjoy the product of my power tool adventures and I get to enjoy the product of his attempts to be an iron chef.  Win-win!

Ok, back to the bench.  After sanding the crap out of the uneven top and smoothing all the wood filler, I went over the rest with deglosser.  First time trying a deglosser, but it seemed to work well.

It then got 2+ coats of Minwax Polyshades in American Chestnut and it dried to a fantastic slick glossy surface.  I used Polyshades on my dining table a few years ago and really liked how easy it was to get an amazing finish.   It acts more like a paint than a stain, which some might not like.  Not perfect for all projects, but perfect for this one!

While the base dried, I got started on the cushion.

My supplies were:

  • 3″ foam
  • Plywood
  • 1.5 yards of fabric
  • Batting (to put around the foam)
  • A staple gun (and staples of course)
  • Fabric button making kit
  • 1 super long needle
  • Strong thread

Before I went to get my supplies, I measured the size I wanted for the cushion.  Your friendly local home improvement warehouse store will cut a sheet of plywood to your needed size for free.  Since you buy the whole board anyway, I had them cut 2 to the right size in case I needed a do-over.  I got the foam at Joann Fabrics and I had to get creative.  You buy it by the yard, and 1 yard of 3″ foam was almost $50!  Luckily, it was 2′ wide and I only needed it 1′ wide.  I left with 22″ of foam which I then chopped in half with a super duper expensive (or not) bread knife from Christmas Tree Shops.  You want your foam to be larger than your plywood by about an inch on all sides.  Then comes the stapling fun!

I stapled the batting to the plywood, securing the foam.  After the batting was stapled, I trimmed the extra and brought out my fabric.

I was SUPER careful with this step since my fabric is a geometric.  Crooked fabric or wonky lines would be VERY obvious.  I started at the center of each side and pulled the fabric tight  as I went along.  When I got to the corners I tried my best at hospital corners, which was not an easy feat (and didn’t come out perfect).

I’m not gonna lie- the neat way this worked out on the back makes me kinda happy.

So for the buttons, it took me a bit to figure this out.  Making the buttons out of the fabric was easy (I followed the directions on the package), but trying to figure out how to attach them to the cushion was the tough part.  After a few failed attempts and a few Google searches, I figured it out.

With holes drilled in the bottom plywood, I hooked the button on the thread (several strands together), and threaded that onto the longest needle I could find.  Once I got the thread through the foam and the button in the right place, I pulled the thread tight and stapled the thread a few times.  Rinse, repeat.

It was agony waiting for the last coat of stain to dry on the base before I could assemble the 2 parts.  Once it was FINALLY dry, I centered the cushion on the top of the former coffee table and screwed through the bottom to attach the 2 parts.

Ta Da!!!

This totally makes me giddy and fits in the bedroom like it was MADE for that space (ya know, cuz it was).

I’m revved to do more in the bedroom now- the rest of the room needs to live up to my awesome new bench!